Kids dressed in their best, carrying new backpacks filled with school supplies filed into Ring Factory Elementary School in Bel Air Monday morning for the first day of the 2012-13 school year.
Most were excited to see their friends after a long summer and learn new things. Others were more hesitant and held onto their parents as long as they could.
Students in Bel Air South who ride bus 816 were greeted by driver Peter Schlehr as they walked up the steps and picked a seat.
They were surprised to see Superintendent Robert Tomback, Board of Education members Alysson Krchnavy, James Thornton and President Leonard Wheeler, as well as other Harford County Public Schools officials, on board for the annual first day bus ride with the superintendent.
New third-grader William Lüders was shy on the bus and kept his blue and black backpack close by.
He sat next to second-grader Jack Edwards, who said he was excited to "see some friends of mine."
Jack's favorite subject is science and likes that "sometimes you get messy" while learning. William's favorite subject in school is math.
During the summer Jack went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, S.C., played games and went bowling.
As kids exited the bus, teachers were there to hand them bus number reminders so they could easily find their bus after school.
Brandy Stocking drove her 6-year-old son, Brooks Jacobsen, to school for his first day of first grade.
Brooks was also very shy and didn't seem very happy to be going back to school.
"He's like his father," Stocking joked. "He doesn't like school."
The mom, who also brought her younger son, Braxton Stocking, to see his big brother off to school, said the family went to the beach for summer vacation and Brooks attended summer camp at Bel Air Athletic Club.
Kyleigh Johnson couldn't have been more thrilled to start second grade.
"I'm really excited," she said. "My teachers are really nice and I get to learn new things.
Parents Tiphany and Richard Johnson also brought Kyleigh to school and held bags of school supplies for her.
Kyleigh said during the summer her grandmother and uncle taught her new skills, such as math, writing and a few French phrases.
The 7-year-old showed off what she learned, asking "How are you?" in French and explaining "au revoir" means "goodbye."
"My Nana knows a lot of French," Kyleigh said before skipping off to her classroom.
Principal Earl Gaskins greeted parents and students as they walked into the school.
"I'm feeling excited," he said. "I'm anxious to get things started."
Last school year was a big one for Ring Factory — the school was chosen to host a Ravens pep rally for Purple Friday in January and, also that month, was name one of six school statewide to be named a Maryland Blue Ribbon school.
Gaskins hopes this year brings "more of the same."
"Our school always has something going on," he said. Monday, however, teachers and students were going over rules and procedures.
The most important thing on the first day of school, Gaskins noted, will be "building relationships."