Temperatures in the 100s drove parents and kids of all ages to the splash pad at Long Branch Park on Labor Day.

But the heat didn’t stop Shoemaker senior Nykolas Dawson from practicing his basketball skills.

“It’s not an excuse,” said the Grambling State University prospect. “It’s hard work. ... I just want to get this school year over with.”

Willow Springs Elementary School fifth-grader Juwan Beckford, 11, enjoyed his day off from school but was practicing for future club basketball tryouts. He said teachers withheld homework assignments the first week of school, but he was already thinking about upcoming weeks.

“On Tuesday, we’re going to get homework, and it’s going to get harder,” he said.

Before shooting hoops, Juwan celebrated the holiday by watching movies with friends and playing Playstation 3.

“I can only play (video games) on the weekends because it can damage your brain,” he said.

But some were forced to deal with the cruel irony of working on Labor Day.

Freebirds World Burrito General Manager Kristen Dixon oversaw a surprisingly steady flow of business Monday, she said. Monday was her 11th straight Labor Day on the clock, which she didn’t mind.

“Monday is a busy day for anybody that manages a restaurant,” Dixon said. “You have a lot of stuff to do, so I get in early and leave early. So Monday was a good day for it to fall on.”

The holiday drew many families and lake-bound groups of friends to the burrito superstore in Killeen.

Others sought the outdoors for relaxation.

“I’d normally be at work,” said Ruth Alejandro, who went to the splash pad with her mother, niece, nephew, daughter and son. She was already thinking about the work she’ll have to make up, but was trying to block it out in the meantime, she said. Alejandro and her family had a picnic and planned some low-key movie watching for the rest of the day.

“Nothing outrageous,” she said. “At least we’re together.”

Contact Brian Bradley at bbradley@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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