Sunny faces lit the rainy morning skies as students made their way into schools across Danbury.
In the high school, 9th graders greeted familiar faces with relief and joy, and in middle school and elementary school, children bravely began their adventure, leaving behind parents far more apprehensive than themselves. Olga Pernas, mother of a sixth grader entering Rogers Park for the first time, said, “I didn't sleep last night. I feel like it's my first day.”
At Danbury High School, clusters of students filled the halls as purposeful teachers negotiated their way through the oncoming crowd. Susan Margolis, photography teacher, anticipates an exciting year. In the library, Media Specialists Natalie Koehler and Sandra Navarra xeroxed papers, guided students towards their advisers, and commented on the relaxed atmosphere throughout the school. Nevarra said, “It's going to be a wonderful year, everyone is feeling very relaxed, and ready to work hard. It feels like we are going to have a happy working environment this year.”
Just outside the main office of DHS, newly appointed Principal Gary Bocaccio seemed focused and intent as he surveyed the landscape of students and staff coming through the doors. He was happy that school was starting, and said that while school was delayed a week, days of preparation had been lost.
Bocaccio was happy to introduce April Perez, who had arrived in a limo as a prize for reading the most books through the Danbury Public Library's Summer Reading Program. Perez guessed she had read over a hundred books this summer.
There were two winners of the Summer Reading Program. The middle school winner was seventh grader Ali Imran, who read 30 books, and seemed almost mortally embarrassed at having his photo taken in the classroom amid peers who cheered his accomplishment.
Downstairs in the lobby of Rogers Park, Principal Pat Joaquin directed incoming students to their home rooms while anxious parents waved goodbye. Joaquin said, “We are going to have a wonderful year. We are looking forward to having the children and to be a part of their middle school experience.”
Just around the corner from Rogers Park, parents were beginning to line up outside the South Street Elementary School. Principal Marnie Shork stood with anticipation in the empty hallway, a peaceful yet energy charged contrast to the bustling halls of the other schools.
The elementary school buses were late, which is not uncommon on the first day of school as drivers learn to negotiate morning traffic and delays are created by parents dropping their children at the front door.
Outside the building, nervous parents hugged their kindergartners, whose shining little faces looked ready to take on the world. Venessa Marrero allowed her mom to cuddle her against the morning chill. Her mother, Stephanie Marrero said, “She's getting big. We're ready.”