There were a few tears and plenty of clicking cameras at Covina’s Badillo Elementary School on the first day of classes.
First-grader Kim Nguyen, sporting a brand-new ribboned white dress, said she was scared because she didn’t know anybody at the school, but she was excited anyway.
On the other hand, Nicole Hornstra, a second-grader wriggling under a knapsack on her back, declared that she wasn’t nervous at all.
“I’m looking forward to having fun,” she said, adding that reading is her favorite subject.
Indeed, some of the parents were more distraught than their children.
Diane Bayles, whose daughters were entering kindergarten and first grade, wept as she got them ready for school that morning. Armed with a video camera, she trailed after them as they entered their classrooms.
“I’m really sad (with) them starting off into the world,” Bayles said. “I’ll miss them a lot.”
Jeannette Tufano, however, was excited that her 4-year-old son, Drew, was ready for school.
“He’s been wanting to go for a long time,” Tufano said. She had already finished half a roll of film when she dashed into the classroom for one final picture, tickled to find Drew relaxing on a mat.
Tufano’s other son, Paul, was not thrilled, however, about losing his playmate. The 2-year-old suddenly darted in to give his big brother a good-by kiss.
“They’ve been together all the time,” Tufano said as she carried the whimpering Paul out.
Jim Gilmore took the morning off from work to be with his children on their first day.
“It’s tradition,” said Gilmore, who has one son in kindergarten and another in the first grade.
Gilmore hovered outside the classrooms with his wife, who was snapping photographs for the family album. He said the children had earlier been videotaped getting out of bed and preparing for the big day.
“My 5-year-old was OK. It was mom that was scared,” the beaming father said. Once the class started, Gilmore said, the kindergartner, Joseph, “turned his back on us and started to play ball.”
In the first-grade classroom, Gilmore’s other son, Dustin, appeared eager for the session to begin.
“I’ll get to meet a lot of new friends,” said Dustin, sporting spiked hair after a summer of watching MTV. “I think it’s going to be a pretty good year.”