Andrew Vanorsdale was taking the new year in stride. He's in the eighth grade. "It's not that big of a transition," he said, shrugging about the move to middle school. "You get used to it after a few days."

For Andrew, the new year means new course work, something he was looking forward to.

"I'm a big fan of science," he said.

As students arrived with their parents, they hovered near the front door, posing for a photo, looking for friends.

Bryson Brendel was one of the first, a smile brightening his face.  

After attending Relay in kindergarten, he went to a different school for first grade — and now he's back at Relay for second.

Why was he excited to return?

"To see old faces," he said, that bright smile beaming again.

Abigail Wilkens arrived with specific goals in addition to new supplies. "I'm looking forward to having good grades," said the fifth-grader.

"And being nice to everybody — I'm always bossy, bossy." she said. "I like being in fifth grade. It's very exciting."

Getting ready for the new school year means shopping for new shoes, backpack and school supplies.

Kanijah Roger, a second-grader with a brightly-colored Hello Kitty backpack, was excited to be back for a lot of reasons: "Reading and  writing," she said, then added, "friends."

Adam Wiley, a fourth-grader, arrived wearing his blue Relay Elementary T-shirt. "I'm looking forward to my new teacher [Candice Julien] since she's new at the school this year," he said.

Adam was resigned about more onerous tasks the new year would bring.

"You have a  lot of homework," he said.

Ali Tahir, a fifth-grader, also spent a lot of time on the Relay Review — a math and reading packet students take home for the summer break.

"I just have two more pages left," he said on his steady progress going through the nearly 100 pages.

Isabelle Dunkerly stood by the school door with her father, Daniel. He had taken off work to bring her for, as she said proudly, "the first day of first grade."

She, too, had worked on her "Relay Fun Book," the booklets designed to help Relay students stay on track through the summer.

She's just about finished it, too, she said, so she'll get a medal.