Kindergarten teachers turn tears to smiles

Though the skies outside were gloomy with rain, Herkimer Elementary offered a bright and welcoming haven for students and parents arriving on the first day of school.

Families hurried under umbrellas toward the brightly lit lobby, where staff waited to greet students when the doors opened. Warm smiles and calls of “Good morning!” rang out in the lobby as the doors opened and students began to stream in.

Parents exchanged hugs and kisses with excited, nervous, timid and brave students. Children’s faces lit up as they greeted familiar friends and teachers in the halls in front of bulletin boards decorated with messages of welcome.

Students walk past teachers in a hallway

“Isn’t it nice to see them all again?” one teacher remarked. “It just makes me happy.”

In the cafetorium, kindergarten students held fast to parents’ hands as they said hello to their teachers and prepared to say goodbye to moms and dads.

“We get to go and play now while your parents go to work!” one teacher exclaimed brightly to her students, getting some smiles in return. “How does that sound?” Another teacher encouraged her new students to blow kisses to moms and dads “that they can hold onto all day long.”

A man holds a cellphone as children line up in front of a teacher

After final adjustments to backpacks, hair bows and shoelaces, and a few more photos were snapped, it was time to say goodbye. And while a few tears were shed, the kindergarten teachers were all smiles, their years of experience telling them that even the most tearful and hesitant students would soon be settling in to the exciting new world of kindergarten.

Soon the halls were emptied of students and parents as the first bell rang and the children were safely inside their classrooms. Principal Renee Vogt gave a welcome over the loudspeaker, encouraging all her students to set goals for the school year, and to remember to be kind and responsible.

And just like that, another year at Herkimer Elementary has begun.

Parents are invited to an open house and PTA ice cream social on Wednesday, Sept. 13, to mark the start of the school year. The ice cream social will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the open house at 6:30.