Sierra Hatch is ready for fourth grade.
The Alta Vista Elementary School student is nervous, sure, but as she waited in the car with her mom, Angela, she couldn't help but look forward to what the day would hold.
"I woke up at 5 a.m.," Hatch said. "I'm just excited."
They weren't alone in feeling that enthusiasm early Wednesday morning. The first day of school saw hundreds of families and parents meeting at schools across Sarasota to begin another school year.
Alta Vista Elementary had a car loop full of children hugging their parents goodbye and being welcomed by staff into their new classrooms.
It was a particularly thrilling day for Mindy Long, the new principal at Alta Vista Elementary School. Long had worked as an assistant principal for years at Fruitville Elementary School, but Wednesday marked her first day of school as a head principal.
"I really get to be out in the community and connect with the families," Long said. "(A good first day of school) is having everyone ready to welcome families and be at the door with big smiles. There's this buzz of everyone just excited to be back."