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Emotions high as students enter first day of school at Mendoza Elementary in Mesa

Posted at 6:15 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 21:15:18-04

MESA, AZ — "I got everything ready. I had it all laid out last night and I was just like, this is it,” said Jennifer Kurcz.

But the preparation isn’t just overnight.

“This is the day that we just work so hard for,” said Brent Gardner, Principal of Mendoza Elementary School.

It’s months of work to get organized, not just for parents but also for their teachers.

“I keep telling the kids like, I’m nervous for today. Just like you’re nervous,” Gardner said. “Today is the first day of school! And it’s a super exciting day.”

Emotions are mixed and tearful hugs are inevitable for Kurcz, “I just want him to be the best that he can and just learn and enjoy school.” She says her son, Cooper, “Lost his dad three years ago.”

For Megan Chandler, it’s also her son’s first day of kindergarten. “A little sad. You know, he’s my baby so a little teary today.” Chandler continued, “You’re happy for them to be growing up, but it’s sad because they’re never going to be this small again.”

For Principal Gardner, he understands, “Balancing out those roles of being principal and dad and like, what do I do?” He laughed, “My son starts kindergarten today.”

Into Mrs. Hernandez’s kindergarten classroom, little feet fall in line with new shoes and jitters inching into a brand-new world full of multi-colored markers, name tags, and raised hands.

“It’s kind of cool because he’s with a teacher (Mrs. Hernandez), that was my student when I was a teacher,” Gardner said, “It’s kind of full circle.”

The first day jitters slowly dissipate with each hour that passes.

As long as parents remember, “Just love on them up until you have to let them go,” added Chandler.