This video shows students as they exit buses for the first day of the 2018-2019 school year at Robert Moton Elementary School in Westminster on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
"It's a great day to be at school, everybody's happy!" Darryl Robbins, the principal of Robert Moton Elementary School, sang as children filed off buses, down the covered walkway and through the front doors — bracing for 180 days of learning and leaving summer in the rearview.
"If you put forth a positive attitude, a good vibe," Robbins said, "our students walk in, they're going to get the same thing and give it back, hopefully tenfold."
A cluster of teachers awaited the children as they climbed out of the buses on Tuesday, Sept. 4, the first day of the school year for students.
"Stop being tall," Robbins told one youngster who obviously hit a growth spurt over the summer.
It's all part of an effort to make the students feel comfortable, Robbins explained.
"If you have erasers, you're taking one for the pencil pouch," Brewer, the third grade team leader, instructed her students. "Next, pencils. I'd like you to keep two pencils. The rest let's donate," to the communal class supply.
Brewer barked out school-supply instructions for each item: markers, crayons, colored pencils and composition books.
Brewer clearly wanted to set a precedent on the first day. When the teacher talks, the students should listen, she told the classroom, as the buzz of voices and supplies rattling became overwhelming.
"Are you following instructions?" Brewer asked a student. "We have to get organized."
The first day is also a feeling-out period for students.
"We have, like, specials first," said Kateri Benedictis, a 10-year-old fifth grader. "And then afterwards we unpack everything."
Kateri and fellow fifth-grader Armando Sagastume, 10, said they were excited and nervous about the new challenges associated with fifth grade. They were happy and sad that summer concluded — sad because the fun in the sun was over, but happy because they moved up a year and were going to learn new things. Like math, Armando's favorite.
Students and staff bring excitement and energy on the first day of school at North Carroll Middle.
"We're going to do division of fractions," Kateri said.
"Oh, god," Armando replied. "How do you even do that?"
The first day blues are mostly subdued for experienced fifth-graders like those two. Been there. Done that. No big deal.
But for some of their younger students at Robert Morton the first day can be scary.
"Are you sure this is a good idea," Ruthe Spears said her son Gio, a 5-year-old starting kindergarten, asked her in the car en route to school.