Students, parents, teachers and friends flooded city streets in the early morning hours of Wednesday, September 9, marking the first day of classes for both public and private schools.
The kids weren’t the only ones looking forward to the year ahead.
“I’m so excited for him to be starting school,” said Ridge resident Christie Connors after dropping her son, Stephen Richard Gonzalez off at the NYL William O’Connor Bay Ridge School (420 95th Street). “It’s his first day ever and he was soaking it all in.”
For parents like Connors, the first day of school was a milestone.
“Me, as a mom, I am very nervous and emotional but this is going to be great for him,” she said. “My baby’s not a baby anymore.”
Over in Bensonhurst, students were just as enthusiastic about the first day back.
“I’m so excited for kindergarten,” said five-year-old Sophia, donning a bright blue backpack and red sneakers on her first day at P.S. 101, The Verrazano School (2360 Benson Avenue).
For students like Sarah, 4, the idea of starting anew is bittersweet.
“I’m not really excited because all of my cousins are going to junior high next year,” she said.
Still, many scholars – and teachers alike – were ready to seize the day.
“Summer break was great,” said Bay Ridge native John Savarese on his first official day teaching middle school math at Christa McAuliffe, I.S. 187, “but I’m really happy to be back in the classroom teaching the subject that I love.”
Citywide, politicians praised the start of not only another school year, but also the first day of Universal Pre-K.
“Today represents the fulfillment of a promise we made to the people of this city: that every child, regardless of their family’s means or the zip code they call home, will have access to a life-changing early education. Because of Pre-K for All, tens of thousands of children will do better in school, be more likely to graduate high school, and be better prepared for college and beyond,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, “and we are taking that same commitment to raising achievement at more than 100 Community Schools, to greater parental engagement, and to provide more professional development for our educators. Let’s take this energy and momentum and make this a phenomenal school year for all 1.1 million students in our city.”
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña echoed the mayor’s sentiments.
“It’s my 50th first-day-of-school, and I’m more excited than ever to see our students and families back in our school buildings and our teachers back in the front of the classroom, working tirelessly to make a difference,” she said.
Additional reporting contributed by Anna Spivak.