Seniors at New Jersey school row to first day of school

BURLINGTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Everybody wants to roll up to the first day of school in style, but no one is doing it quite like the senior class at Doane Academy in Burlington, New Jersey.

"You're rowing in on a canoe on your first day? What are you doing?" said senior Grace Eagleson.

The tradition has been around for 15 years. On Labor Day, the seniors go on a retreat, then wake up early Tuesday to row up to their last first day.

"We are right here on the Delaware River and we've been here since 1837, so the river is part of our neighborhood," explained George Sanderson, the headmaster of the academy.

"When you come as a freshman, you're kind of like, oh I can't wait until that's my day and I'm the one rowing in," said Eagleson.

That moment, however, is not as easy for the parents waiting on the shore.

"It's a very special moment for them and a very emotional moment because they're in the process of saying goodbye to their children when they'll ultimately be going to college after they graduate," said Sanderson.

The canoe to class is just the first back-to-school activity for the class of 2020. In fact, the kids say they probably won't even crack a textbook until next week.

"Instead of immediately going to your classes, you get to surround yourself with your community," said Eagleson.
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