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New Canaan kids head back to school

Updated 6:29 pm, Monday, August 26, 2013

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  • Kindergartner Marc Raisanen holds tight to his dad on the first day of school, August 26, 2013, at South School in New Canaan, Conn. Photo: Jeanna Petersen Shepard / New Canaan News Freelance
    Kindergartner Marc Raisanen holds tight to his dad on the first day of school, August 26, 2013, at South School in New Canaan, Conn. Photo: Jeanna Petersen Shepard

 

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Summer vacation came to an official end Monday morning as New Canaan's youngest reported for the first day of school.

Students streamed out of SUVs and yellow buses at East Elementary School, some excited, some nervous, and many with plenty of energy.

Fourth-grader William Burger, accompanied by parents Hennika and Dennis, carried a "me box" which contained his interests: drums; soccer; adventures.

Crista Rizzuti teaches kindergarten through fourth-grade Spanish at East and has two children, Mimi and Nicky Schindler, who are in the fourth and second grades.

"Oh my gosh, so excited!" Rizzuti said about the first day of school. "We've been here for a week without the kids just waiting for them to come."

One mother was not so excited for the beginning of the school year.

"No, I'm sad summer's over," Diane Winalski said. "It means the kids are getting bigger and another year has passed."

Overall, the district's first day went off without a hitch.

"Today went really well," Superintendent Mary Kolek said. "I made it to four out of the five schools and talked to all the principals. I was at a first-grade class and kids were at their desks and ready to go, with their books open almost before the teacher started class. At the high school, upperclassmen were helping underclassmen navigate the building, and I saw some maps open."

The district currently has 4,185 students enrolled, and 50 new teachers and administrators were hired to replace those who left last year. The elementary schools have 55 fewer students than last year, the middle school has 35 more, and the high school has nine fewer.

One of the 1,595 elementary school students was Marco DeRubeis, a third-grader. He was asked whether he was excited for the year to begin.

"Yeah," he responded. He was then asked what he did over the summer. "Swim," he said.

Kolek said there were no problems and no delayed busses.

"When the bell rings that first day and the hallways clear out and the doors close, it's a good feeling because everyone's schedules are right and when I walked down the hallways they were empty and I saw students and teachers in their classrooms," she said. "One day down, 181 to go. I hope they are all as smooth as today."

twoods@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6582; @Woods_NCNews