Summer is nearly over, and a new school year begins. Most East County schools are back in the business of teaching; and with that come fresh ideas and new excitement. We asked several educators from area schools what their favorite thing about the first day of school was, and when they were students, what they adored. Here are their answers:

Letha Arms, Marina Elementary, Pittsburg: "For me watching the students is awesome. They have so much positive energy; running up to you and giving you hugs because they missed you. I love that. School is such a huge part of kids' lives, and when they come back after summer break, it is like coming home."

When she was a student: "I (liked) finding out who your teacher was ... such a big deal. And, what friends were in my class, where is my desk going to be in the classroom (back or front). I was (and still am) such a social bug, so I know that my favorite part about school was my friends."

Jamie Bennetts, Knightsen (K-8): "I teach at a wonderful, old-fashioned grammar school dating back to the late 1800s, and I love reporting back every single new school year."

When she was a student: "My New Year's Day was always the first day of school. Every new school year was a chance to be a new, better version of myself.

"New school-year's resolutions ... get all A's, make a couple of new friends, and maybe win a game of tetherball.


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"I always looked forward to meeting my new teacher and all my new school books."

Diana Camacho, Heritage High, Brentwood: "(I like) having students from the previous years come visit. It is great to watch them mature and move toward graduation.

When she was a student: "My favorite thing was seeing friends and knowing we were all in the same boat -- excited and anxious for the year."

Kim Karr, Excelsior, Byron: "I love (when) students get excited to see their friends and teachers. It's so fun watching their eyes light up and their smiles so bright."

When she was a student: "Oh, wow. I had to get a lot of help from my teachers, so I had to study and work really hard for my grades. But I loved that feeling when it all paid off in the end with that one test score or when something finally would click and I understood. It felt so awesome."

Lisa McBride, Sutter Elementary, Antioch: "I love how excited the kids are, and how we all become a team so quickly."

When she was a student: "I loved the 'newness' of the first week ... a new teacher, new desk, new supplies, new grade, new ideas, new friends....it was so exciting." Laurie Seeno, Laurel Elementary, Oakley: "Seeing all of the children back and excited to start the new year. They are always eager to come into the library and see any changes I've made over the summer and what new books are on the shelves. I love when they walk in the door and say how much they have missed the library. When she was a student: "The newness of everything ... getting to wear that 'special' first-day outfit. Then (in my new classroom) seeing my desk with a pencil that was perfectly sharpened, crayons that hadn't been broken, shiny safety scissors and that smell of paste that hung in the air. It seemed like that start of a new adventure every year."

Blair Wilkins, Deer Valley, Antioch: "It's getting to meeting all the new students who arrive on campus and welcome them. My second favorite thing is working with the staff to improve our campus and build upon last school year."

When he was a student: "It was going clothes shopping. That reminds me, I need to go ..."

If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. Note: Trine also does community outreach for Antioch High.

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