The district opened its doors for the start of classes on Sept. 5. Each school was abuzz with excitement for the students’ arrival, and many teachers and principals waited outside to greet them. Hallways that were silent all summer came alive with chatter, laughter, and stories.

At Washington Drive, kindergarteners with the entirety of their school career before them hopped off buses first—some sporting backpacks larger than their bodies! Assistant Principal Kathryn McNally, along with other faculty and staff, greeted each one, offering high-fives and wishing them an incredible first day. Once in the building, they formed wiggly lines and followed green footprints on the floor to their new classrooms.

Experienced students confidently traversed the hallways to their classrooms at both Washington Drive and Thomas J Lahey. Children unloaded backpacks, stuffed with fresh supplies, and got to know their classmates through sharing things like their favorite summer memories. Others participated in activities such as “explore your new classroom”—a quasi-scavenger hunt to familiarize thems with the details of the room, such as where the pencil sharpener was, or how many students were in their class.

At Oldfield Middle and Harborfields High School, teachers wasted no time jumping into the syllabus and reviewing topics with students to transition them out of summer-mode. Many incoming middle and high schoolers that needed help navigating the building were guided by experienced students.

“If you ever need help you can always text me, and I’ll meet you at your locker,” an upperclassman told a freshman between classes on the first day. “Don’t worry. You’ve got this.”