A jousting competition between knights of the realm does not usually mark the beginning of the school year, but that's just one of the unusual ways the city's school districts kicked off the new year Friday.
In earlier years, the convocation ceremony for the administration, teachers, school board members and support staff of the Buena Park School District was just a meeting. Everybody got together, met the new teachers and heard a speech from the superintendent.
That changed when Medieval Times, in a civic gesture, donated use of both its castle on Beach Boulevard and its "talent" for the annual breakfast meeting.
"It was great because it made people feel good and brought everybody together," said Jeanette McCord, a district spokeswoman. "They did jousting and the whole nine yards."
Between medieval events, some of the 550 in attendance had time to discuss what students will face when they have their first day of classes Wednesday: a focus on reading and student achievement.
The newest students in the Centralia School District, meanwhile, had their own initiation Friday.
While it was not quite as exciting as jousting knights, a symbolic tea party at San Marino Elementary School marked the first day that kindergartners and their parents could meet their teachers.
"It's a way to have kids visit the classroom before the first day," spokeswoman Rosemary Gladden said. "The kids had a chance to meet other kids and other parents. That's a little bit important. Now, they actually have a friend for the first day of school."
The tea was actually milk, punch and cookies, but the wide-eyed schoolchildren heard that kindergarten is a little more demanding than it was in their parents' day.
Principal Peter Cole informed them that they will be learning the alphabet and numbers and generally preparing for a life of reading.
They will learn more about that Tuesday, the first day of school.