COLUMBIA — Fourth-grader Tarandin Whitaker and his brother Tzarry, a fifth grader, followed their mother around the lobby of Derby Ridge Elementary, excited for the first day of school.
"They got a game room and an Xbox and a basketball court — they got everything," Tarandin said.
Both of the boys were new to the school, but they were ready with their new blue and black backpacks. "I think it's gonna be a better school," Tzarry said. Tarandin said he was bullied at his old school, but this year that's not going to happen. "I'm going to karate class," he said.
Students at Derby Ridge Elementary in northeast Columbia prepared for the first day of school at "Meet the Teacher Night" on Monday. Students toured the school with their parents, met their teachers and made sure everything was in order for their first day of school.
One student, Galilea Garay, sat at a round cafeteria table with her mother, aunt, siblings and cousins. While the adults filled out paperwork, the kids babbled about the new school year.
"I love school too much ... It's exciting, and I really want to learn," Galilea said. Second-grader Galilea looked forward to making new friends, learning in a new classroom and "everything else."
"I like school," her brother Adisson, who was starting the first grade, said. Adisson wanted to play soccer this year, and both siblings enjoyed math. Galilea said she loved math "too much." She also planned to eat healthy this year: "Instead of chocolate milk, I'm going to pick white milk instead."
Hailee Olinger knew what she'll be having for lunch, too: "sandwich, granola bar, Cheez-Its, blueberries and applesauce. That's what my mom usually packs me, so I pretty much know everything she's gonna get me." Hailee will be in the the third grade this year.
"It's a different grade and you learned a lot of stuff in second grade, but now you're going to learn new stuff," she said. She was excited because one of her friends is in her new class, and she wanted to learn multiplication this year.
Addie Morris also wanted to learn math. She liked that the school is bigger and has a bigger playground than her last school. She liked reading, especially Junie B. Jones books, and thought that school this year "will be very fun." It's her first year at Derby Ridge Elementary, where she will be in second grade.
Addie showed off a new striped backpack with her name embroidered in cursive on the back. Armed with her new backpack, she was prepared for the challenges of the new school year.
Supervising editor is Mary Ryan.