Students excited about first day of school while some parents struggle to let go.
Outside the front doors of Gilbert W. McNeal Elementary School, Greenbrook resident Sarah Ozgun knelt down to help her 8-year-old son, Tyler, adjust a strap on his backpack.
The start of this school year is different for Ozgun because now she has two sons to help.
Standing with them Aug. 12 was Tyler’s 5-year-old brother, Leo, who was starting kindergarten.
“It’s great because I have both kids together at McNeal,” Ozgun said. “We love McNeal. I love the teachers. I love the principal. We have had nothing but a great year after great year, and I’m glad Leo is also going to be at McNeal with him.”
The Ozgun family arrived to the school early, which gave them plenty of time to park and take photos of the two brothers on their first day of school together.
While getting ready for school, Tyler was FaceTiming and texting his father, Ozzy, who was at work and couldn’t attend.
“We already sent him a bunch of different photos, so he could experience it as well,” Ozgun said.
For Greenbrook resident Ashley Benson, leaving her 4-year-old daughter, Addison, was a difficult experience.
“I’m just a little shell-shocked sending my kid to school,” she said.
Benson said her daughter never went to day care, so she was happy to be among others her age.
Having her daughter enrolled at McNeal Elementary is “an absolute, complete relief,” Benson said, which made leaving Addison in her pre-kindergarten classroom easier.
“It was devastating, but it was exciting,” she said. “It’s one of those giddy and scary things.”
Other parents had mixed emotions about leaving their children in their classrooms.
Greenbrook resident Melissa Murphy said saying goodbye to her 5-year-old son, Logan, on his first day of kindergarten was “a little nerve-wracking because he’s my baby.”
Murphey said it put her at east that Logan’s teacher, Jessica Spence, had taught her 7-year-old son, Austin, two years ago.
“It’s a lot easier than I ever expected,” she said. “But it’s going to be a long day.”
Murphy took photos of Logan, along with photos of his new desk before hugging him and saying goodbye. She then went off to take Austin to his second-grade classroom.
Murphy said Austin was more nervous than his younger brother but that she thinks he’s ready to take on the second grade.
Greenbrook resident Fabiola Ramirez and her 4-year-old son, Aaron, walked to McNeal Elementary Monday morning because they live close.
Ramirez said dropping Aaron off was “a smooth process.”
“He just said, ‘Bye, Mama,’ and was very happy, and that was it,” Ramirez said. “I thought he would maybe cry, but nothing. He was OK.”
Although Aaron was ready for the first day, Ramirez said she had mixed feelings.
“I feel, ‘Oh my God, he’s 4 years old,’” she said. “But at the same time, I was very calm because of his reaction. He was OK and happy. That was a good experience for me, too.”