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Back to school: Younger students, parents weigh emotions of first day

09.30.2012 | Sierra Sun | Margaret Moran

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — For the nearly 3,700 students in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Wednesday marked the first day of school, eliciting mixed emotions among all ages.

Smiles and tears could be seen on the faces of both children and their parents in the Kings Beach Elementary School yard Wednesday morning before students trooped into the school at the ring of the bell.

“It’s hard to watch them go into the building and not being able to escort them, but it was good,” said Farida Gipson Burtt, of Kings Beach, who was seeing off her son, Hazen Burtt, on his first day of kindergarten.

Jennifer Standteiner, of Truckee, who was also at Kings Beach Elementary seeing off her kindergartner, had tears in her eyes after saying goodbye to her son.

“He was fighting back the tears, which only made me start crying,” she said.

Standteiner said her son was at first excited about going to school, but his feelings changed as the big day approached.

“He was really excited to be in a different school than his (younger) sister,” she said. “I’m going to have my own class and own friends (he said), but yesterday (Tuesday) after orientation, he changed his mind. This morning he threatened, ‘Well, I just won’t go then.’”

Lucy Tieslau, a first grader at Kings Beach Elementary, said she was excited about the first day of school, but also nervous.

“It’s new,” she said.

For those nervous about the first day of school, Rob Leri, TTUSD’s superintendent, had a word of advice.

“Students should come to school knowing that caring and passionate professionals are here to help and support them,” he said in an email. “If a student is nervous or has any concerns once at school, they should reach out to an adult and share their concerns. All TTUSD staff are here to help each and everyone of our scholars.”

A TTUSD scholar who wasn’t nervous about the first day of school was Carson Crus, who is in his second year of transitional kindergarten at Kings Beach Elementary.

“School is actually my favorite thing,” Crus said, “It’s just fun.”

His mom, Rachel Crus, said one of things Carson is most excited for is his teacher, since he has the same kindergarten teacher his older sister had.

“It’s exciting to watch them grow up and gain independence, but it’s also hard to watch them grow up,” Rachel said, mentioning that she cried earlier that day.

Kevin Hirsh, of Truckee, who has a first- and fourth-grader at Kings Beach Elementary, said the first day of school gets easier for parents over time.

“The first few years it’s much more anxiety filled,” he said. “The kids are still learning the program and the adults are still learning the program, but it’s a great school, a great program, and now it’s like, OK, go ahead and take them.”

For older students, however, going back to school isn’t such an anxiety-inducing event.

“It’s a bit easier because I’m a sophomore now, so I know what’s going on,” said Austin Murtha, a 10th-grader at Truckee High School. “It didn’t even feel like we had a break. I just came in, sat next to my friends just like it was last year.”

The only thing Murtha said was hard on the first day of school was waking up early.

For Calvin Brady, a junior at Truckee High, waking up for school on Wednesday wasn’t that hard because the first day has “a sense of excitement.”

“I was excited to see my friends, but I’ve heard junior year is the hardest, so (I was) a little bit nervous for the workload and just preparing for the SATs and college, but for the most part excited,” he said.

Both Sarah Williams and Sam Maciel, 12th-graders at Truckee High, said they were excited for the school year because they were becoming seniors.

“It’s going to be great, and (I’m) that much closer to graduating,” Maciel said. “That’s exciting.”

With the first day down, now comes the real work.

“Now the teachers are actually giving more homework and starting our actual classload, where as on the first day (it’s) here’s the syllabus and this is what we’re doing, fun ice breakers,” Brady said on the second day of school. “Now it’s like, ‘OK, here we go.’”

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