JOLIET – A whole family came to Carl Sandburg Elementary School to see their kindergarten student begin the first day of school.
Marquis and Jillyan Wilson walked with their daughter, Zoë Wilson, to Sandburg on a warm, bright Wednesday morning. Joining them were Zoë’s grandparents, Sandra and Willard Wilson, along with Zoë’s godmother, Kendra Spiva.
Marquis said he was excited but nervous about his daughter’s first day, but that she was very excited, as it was a day she had been looking forward to for three months.
“She’s going to make friends, I already know it,” he said.
“She’s a social butterfly,” Jillyan said.
Zoë was one of hundreds of students at Sandburg, part of Joliet District 86, who began their first day of school Wednesday. Students at 10 other districts across Will County – in Plainfield, New Lenox, Frankfort, Shorewood and Wilmington – also began their first day Wednesday.
Zoë stood in one of the several lines students were organized into outside the school before they headed to their classrooms to meet their new teachers. Many parents were there to watch their children, with some taking photos on their phones.
Zoë’s grandmother said the family walked Zoë to school.
“I just hope she keeps the enthusiasm for school,” her grandfather said.
Sandburg Principal Julie Rice Zurek said she was looking forward to a wonderful year.
“I want them to have fun. I want them to work hard and I want them to be very successful,” she said. “School is a place where you learn about other people. You learn about what you might want to do someday.”
Zurek said the year was off to a great start and even the kindergartners came in without too many tears.
The front entrance of Sandburg was buzzing with parents bringing in their children for school as staff excitedly greeted them.
“Welcome back!” one staff member said to a student.
In one fourth-grade classroom, students were learning the rules of the class while organizing their supplies. Student Izzy Consalvo said she’s been looking forward to her first day back.
“I’m excited to be in the fourth grade,” she said.
At a kindergarten classroom, students worked on a project, coloring a picture and making it into a hat to wear.
Tyrell Flowers was one of those students, who said he was doing well on his first day of school. He was also wearing his new shoes.
For his coloring project, Flowers colored the typical items of a classroom – apples, pencils, rulers – and said he was starting to get good at coloring within the lines.
“I’m so excited for school,” he said.