'It is a humongous day': Happiness, nervousness on first day back to school

New teachers, new classmates and making new friends — it's time again as thousands of students across the province headed back to class today, opening the books on the 2019-2020 school year.

'There's a lot of joy in coming back'

Thousands of students across the province returned to class today including those welcomed by retirees at Gulf Shore Consolidated in North Rustico. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

New teachers, new classmates and making new friends — it's time again as thousands of students across the province headed back to class today, opening the books on the 2019-2020 school year.

From kindergarten to high school, a mix of tears and joy, anxiety and excitement swept through many students settling into their new school year and back into a familiar routine.

"It is a humongous day," said Maria Lavoie, principal of Gulf Shore Consolidated School in North Rustico. 

"It's like Christmas Eve for me and all of the teachers. The energy is awesome, it is super exciting and we try and pump up that energy because we always know there's going to be some butterflies." 

And there's no shortage of that energy at school.

Music and dancing are all part of the opening day at the school and that's even before the opening bell.

'It's kind of like Old Home Week'

Several retirees, including Mary Jane Ready, who spent 28 years at the school, have returned to be cheerleaders instead of teachers — helping ease the anxiety of many students on opening day.

There's no shortage of energy at school to welcome returning students. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"It's nice, it feels different," said Ready.

"Part of me still wants to be the teacher.… So it's kind of like Old Home Week for me. There's a lot of joy in coming back."

Many students like Emerson Hammill said they've been eagerly looking forward to opening day all summer.

Emerson Hammill, left, and Charlotte MacLaine are excited to return to school and see all of their friends. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"Really excited," said Hammill. "I haven't seen my friends in awhile. My mom works everyday, since she works for the government, so we haven't had a lot of friends over and my friends gave me a hug and I was really excited."

Grade 8 student Charlotte MacLaine said the first day is always a bit hectic, but the school does a good job to make it exciting.

"I'm sad to see summer go, but it's good to get back into routine and Gulf Shore. The first day of school has a lot of energy," MacLaine said.

"It's a good way to start off the year because we feel a bit more welcome I think."

New beginnings

Although it's the first day for students, teachers and staff have spent the past few weeks getting ready for the new year.

Vice principal Claire Caseley Smith wishes students well on their first day of the new school year. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"We see teachers coming in more and more, messages from parents to myself about bus stops things like that," said Lavoie.

"There's a lot of preparation that goes into the day and then as we get closer the excitement and the jitters just continue to build."

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Tom Steepe

Video Journalist

Tom Steepe is an award-winning video journalist with CBC P.E.I.


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