Molly ShoreThe first day of kindergarten was...

Molly Shore

The first day of kindergarten was tougher on Jodi Gross than it was

on her 5-year-old son, Adam.

Tears streamed down Gross’ cheeks when she dropped Adam off at


Emerson Elementary School and left him in the care of teachers Debbie

Jo Adkins and Trish Vosper.

Through her tears, Gross admitted she was excited that her son was

entering kindergarten.


“It’s a big start for him,” she said. “He’s been wanting to go

ever since open house last spring.”

For an estimated 15,000 Burbank Unified students, Thursday marked

the first day of the 2003-04 school year.

“As starts go, it was a pretty good one,” said Daniel Hacking,

John Muir Middle School’s interim principal. “When students showed up

today, they all had their schedules and knew where to go.”

Despite ongoing construction at John Muir, Hacking said opening


day was a positive experience for students, teachers and staff.

Andrew Lehto could hardly wait to get inside his Stevenson

Elementary kindergarten classroom. The 4-year-old wasn’t quite sure

what he was going to do once he got there, but he seemed certain

about what would happen afterward.

“When I get home from kindergarten, I’m going to do my homework,”

he said. “And, my dad’s going to play with me.”

Andrew’s father, Steve Lehto, was as eager as Andrew about his


son’s first day at school.

“I think it’s phenomenal,” Lehto said. “I hope it goes smoothly.”

Delia Moreno’s son, 5-year-old Anthony Stanis, was greeted warmly

by Adkins, who spoke to the youngster.

Moreno said that her son seemed OK about coming to school.

“If he’s going to be crying, I’ll feel so bad,” she said.

But Anthony wasn’t about to give in to tears.

“I’m big now,” he announced. “I want to cut papers and learn ABCs

and numbers.”

Once parents and children assembled outside Room 13, Adkins

welcomed everyone inside the classroom.

“It’s an exciting day, I know, and it’s a hard day, too,” Adkins

told the group.