Originally published Aug. 29 at 4:28 p.m.
Today marked the first day of school and end of summer for children in Orange and many other communities.
Yellow buses pulled up to driveways and street corners on main thoroughfares and side roads across towns as teary eyed parents waved goodbye to their babies.
For some of the children it truly is the “most wonderful time of the year” when they get to show off their new backpacks and shoes and are reunited with their friends and favorite teachers.
For other children, mainly kindergartners who’ve never been away from their parents for a full day, it’s scary and they can’t hold back the tears no matter how hard they try.
Over at Peck Place School brand new Principal Eric Carbone greeted the children as they stepped off the bus. Some he recognized from the family picnic last Friday, others he chatted with for a moment and asked, “What’s your name?” as he studied his or her face so he’d remember next time they crossed paths.
Supt. Lynn McMullin stopped by to see how things were going at the elementary schools and briefly chatted with principals, teachers, parents and students.
The best morning was at Mary L. Tracy School where kindergartners were greeted by new Principal Colleen Murray and then walked by the paparazzi on the way into the building. Parents lined up 3-4 rows deep to see their precious cargo exit the school bus and snap a photo, calling their names — “BRAD, ANGELINA! LOOK AT ME, TURN THIS WAY!” — so they could get a good shot to commemorate the biggest day of their child’s life so far.
Some children were able to stop long enough to give, Mom, Dad or Grampa a smile and a wave before being whisked off into the building away from their adoring public.
Once inside, the children were escorted over to the wooden bleachers, just two rows tall, and introduced to their teachers and classmates.
Colleen Murray came into the gymnasium with a big smile and tons of enthusiasm, throwing her arms into the air and saying, “WELCOME! We’re so happy to see all of you here!”
One by one, the students stood and assembled into nice neat lines and followed their teachers to their new classrooms. Murray greeted each group before they exited the room.
The final class in line was (Mrs.) Lisa Kaplan’s. She held the smallest boy’s hand as he sniffed back the tears.
“Ok, everybody, cover your name tags and let me see if I can do this,” she said. “Ok, Kyle, Sarah, David … etc.” and named every child from memory.
If the enthusiasm witnessed this morning carries on throughout the school year, 2012-13 is going to be a good one.
Here are some photos from today’s visits. (Children whose faces were recognizable were blocked unless the parents granted permission.)***
***Orange Live will not use children’s names with photographs unless a story is written about him or her specifically, i.e. award presentations, starring in a school play etc. In group photos, the children that appear will have had written consent through the school beforehand — names will not be used. If I interview your child for a story, only his or her first name will be used.