Nervous. Anxious. Excited.
Those were some of the words parents at Leroy Nichols Elementary School used to describe how their children felt Tuesday morning as they prepared for their first day of school.
“He was ready to get out the front door before any of us,” Heather Hagen said of her son, 5-year-old Walter III, as he walked through the school’s front door.
“I’m just so happy for him because he’s growing up and moving on from preschool,” she added. “This is a big chapter for all of us.”
Hagen and her husband, Walter II, said their son, who is entering kindergarten this year, was eager to meet new friends and learn new things.
He had been excited about the first day of school for several days, they said.
“He’s just a happy kid,” Walter Hagen II said.
Katie Costa is a former Nichols Elementary student now living in the Needham Elementary School area. She said she wanted her 5-year-old daughter Bella to attend the same school she had attended because she loved her experience as a young girl.
She said her daughter, who will be attending kindergarten, had been excited about the first day of school for weeks.
“This school has a really good reputation,” Katie Costa said. “I had the most amazing experience here from second to sixth grade. It just felt right for her to be here too.”
Students at Tokay High School weren’t nervous about starting the new year.
Freshman Grace Thiara said her first day was really good and she liked it a lot.
“I liked all my teachers. They were pretty nice,” she said. “I’m excited to be taking biology. I just like science.”
Juniors Ricardo Solis and Brian Leck said it was nice to come back to campus and see all their friends after the summer break.
“Today was pretty good. I learned some new things in piano, and learned there were notes I had never known existed before,” Leck said.
“My friends take it and said I would really like it,” he said. “I know quite a lot about it, but I’ve just never really played.”
Solis said he was excited about taking auto mechanics this year and that he just likes putting things together in his spare time.
“It was good to see some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and at least coming to school is better than sitting at home doing nothing,” he said. “This year, honestly, I’m just looking forward to getting through it.”
Dr. Cathy Nichols-Washer, Lodi Unified School District Superintendent, said she was excited to welcome staff members back for the upcoming year, as well as welcome new employees.
She added the district’s goals this year are to focus on helping students develop good reading skills, improve math and English scores at all grades and levels, as well as work to ensure ninth-graders experience a pleasant start to their high school careers.
“Our work is critical to each child we serve and the betterment of our community,” she said. “Our community is fortunate to have a board of education that is focused on students, and a school district that is dedicated to making improvements each year. We look forward to working together to make this another great year for our students, parents, staff, and community.”