Back-to-school-day on Monday, Aug. 20 in La Verne, featured a little of everything, including lots of tears, fears and cheers. But whatever the emotion, there was no denying there was big excitement in the air.
Parents Marissa and Dave were beaming proudly as they sent their son and daughter Hayden and Sadie off to class at Oak Mesa.
“We had an end-of-summer bucket list, the beach, Disneyland, Raging Waters, all that stuff,” said Dave. “And last night, we just kind of went to dinner to celebrate the end of summer and the fact that Sadie is starting a new school and Hayden is starting a new school year.”
“Sadie is going to be the first student with Down’s syndrome who is going to be included in a regular class,” Marissa noted.
Miles Ganalon was marching off to his first grade class, happier than if he had won a year-round pass to Disneyland.
“He’s very excited,” his grandmother said. “He’s been carrying around his backpack around for a couple of days. He has in lunch in there, and he was telling me every item that was inside.”
Jason and Briana Lorge were saying goodbye to their pair of young learners, Landon and Morgan.
“It’s the first time they’re both coming to school at the same place and time,” Jason said. “Morgan was excited, but Landon didn’t want to go. He wanted his summer to continue.”
Then the school bell rung.
“I’m kind of sad and kind of happy,” Briana said, conveying mixed emotions about letting her little ones go.
The feeling was mutual for Andy Hagopian, as he said goodbye to daughter Megan, La Verne’s young lemonade mogul.
“It’s bittersweet,” Andy said. “It was too short a summer. She wasn’t ready to go back; at the same time, she wanted to go back and see her friends and see her new class and new teacher, Mrs.[Chris] Johnson. As for me, I’m just going to go with the flow.”
Even at Ramona Middle School, home to more than 1,300 sixth, seventh and eighth-grad students, some parents still anguished over watching their children pass through the school gates.
“I’m kind of sad and kind of happy at the same time,” said the mom of Ryan and Katelyn Peterson. “It’s another big milestone for them and me because they’re not so little anymore.”
Fortunately, the first day of school was a compact day, so the separation anxiety wasn’t expected to last long. “We have to take the guinea pig to the vet later on,” she said. “Tomorrow will be the true test.”
Tanya Benson’s children, including new Ramona sixth grader Nathan, were up at 6 a.m.
“He was excited to come,” said Tanya, who also has twins at Gladstone Elementary.
Eighth grader Alondra Salazar shared that excitement, according to her mom. “She was excited to go,” said mom. “She excited to see her friends and excited that this is her last year.”
Karen Cockrell has two sets of twins, seniors James and Bianca at Bonita and Sophia and Giavanna at Ramona. Despite preparing four children for school, Karen seemed as cool and unruffled as Queen Elizabeth parachuting out of a helicopter.
“Back to school day,” she said as her girls got their sign for an LVO picture. “There’s nothing quite like it.”