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(Updated) Energy, Excitement in the Air as Berlin Kicks Off New School Year

Students were energized and parents a little anxious, but everyone was excited for new opportunities as Berlin schools kicked off the new school year with a bang Wednesday morning.

Hubbard School Principal Al Souza welcomes students on the first day of school. (Credit: Jason Vallee)
Hubbard School Principal Al Souza welcomes students on the first day of school. (Credit: Jason Vallee)
Hubbard Elementary School Principal Al Souza greeted each child individually as they stepped off the bus Wednesday morning, slapping five, shaking their hands and even throwing in a few fist bumps as he addressed each one by name.

Not a single student passed up the opportunity to greet him back, their energy and excitement showing as many even jogged into the building to take a look at their new classrooms.


“This is absolutely one of the most exciting days of the entire school year,” Souza said, a smile on his face. “These students are the life blood and energy of our school community and while teachers returned earlier this week, today we see a renewed vitality within the building.”

The first day of school in Berlin began with out a hitch Wednesday as teachers and school officials welcomed the students back into the classroom at each of the town’s five public schools.

For parents, this meant the joy of watching their children return to play with their friends, beginning learning new schools and just seeing their child grow a little older. Some smiled, others had tears and yet a few more had a combination of both as they realized the day served as a historic moment for their kids.

Ruth Vincenzo took her daughter to school for her first experience in a full day program as she entered first-grade and said her biggest goal in 2013 was not to cry as she had the previous year.

“This is my little girl growing up,” she said with a smile. “She now has her first adult tooth and now she’s off to first-grade. It’s exciting to watch, but a little emotional.”

Geena Vincenzo, 6, said there are many things she is looking to learn in the upcoming year, including having the opportunity to improve her art work, particularly when it comes to coloring and drawing, and becoming even stronger with her reading skills. Reading with her mom is one of Geena’s favorite activities.

“I want to find new books to read. I’m excited to read more,” she said.

Angela Collin, who enjoyed the morning outside the Hubbard School taking pictures as her children Emily Collin, Julia Collin, Morgan Napolitano and Alyssa Napolitano got off the bus, said every year is exciting and different.

“It’s tough to really explain. We are excited and nervous at the same time,” she said. “This is their first experience coming off the bus, but they are having fun.”

Souza said the year will not be without its challenges, especially as the school like so many others across the state takes on new twists and implements new initiatives related to Connecticut’s Common Core Standards.

The district has known the change would be coming for a while, however, and he believes the transition will be smooth and successful. He said the focus would remain on helping every child, just as it has been for years already.

“It’s about making a difference for these kids,” he said. “We are prepared and excited to do that.”

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