For DeVal Sanders, the first day of school was an emotional one.
“Excitement,” Sanders said after taking a picture of his 6-year-old daughter, Danyella, who had just exited the bus at Bradt Primary School. “I’m very excited, because they’re going to school to start their new life.”
That excitement quickly turned to anxiety, however, as he waited for his older daughter, Danika, 7, who rides a different bus than her sister because she is developmentally delayed, to arrive. When the “bear bus” pulled into the circle and stopped, his daughter was briefly hidden by the other children exiting the bus.
When Sanders found her, he took her picture a few times until she said, “I need to get to class,” before darting into school.
“I thought they might have ushered them to another door and I didn’t want to miss this opportunity,” Sanders said. “Because I did the bus stop last year. I wanted to do the school this year.”
Excitement and nerves are common among parents this week, as students across the state and region head back to school. At the Mohonasen Central School District elementary school, most anxiety was somewhat offset by the parents’ confident children.
“I can’t wait for my nerves to be over,” said Lauren Sindoni, who brought her daughter, Addison McCanney, 5, to Bradt for her first day of first grade. “I’m more nervous than she is, but she’s pretty excited, so I’m glad. She’s doing better than me.”
She said she was nervous because Addison is her first-born child. She also has a 2-year-old son.
“I just always get nervous with the milestones, I guess, but she handles them so well, so that makes me pretty proud,” she said
Addison, wearing a Disney “Frozen” backpack and a matching blue bow in her hair, was all smiles.
Danielle Shiely was calm as she brought her fraternal twin boys into Bradt, possibly because she’d be seeing them during the day.
“I miss them when they go back to school,” she said of the 7-year-old boys, Andrew and Brandon, who are in second grade. “But it’s fun. I come in and help out.”
Brandon, wearing a bright orange T-shirt and sunglasses, pulled on her hand, eager to get to class.
“It’s killing me,” he said of the wait.
Sanders’ daughters weren’t nervous to go back to school — the two first-graders really had no reason to be. After all, this wasn’t their first first day of school.
Sanders let his daughters take the buses to school, even though he drove there, because they like riding them with their friends.
“They’re pros,” he said, laughing. “They’re seasoned pros.”