COSTA MESA — Schools came back to life Tuesday as students returned from summer break for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District's first day of school.
At Killybrooke Elementary School in Costa Mesa, kids wearing new backpacks streamed in. Quiet for the summer, the streets near the school on Killybrooke Lane off of Gisler Avenue again filled with cars driven by parents dropping off their little ones.
By morning, the children had already taken back the playground, as others reunited with friends and a few munched on breakfast at the dining tables.
As the clock ticked down to 8:35 a.m., families filled the blacktop for the first flag deck of the year and the first chance to see Killybrooke's new principal at work.
"Your teachers have been working really hard to prepare a lot of things for you to learn this year," Principal Lorie Hoggard announced at flag deck before dismissing students for class.
Killybrooke third-grader Damian Monroy was excited "to learn new stuff" as he waited to go to class.
The 8-year-old boy was inspired to do math, but a little nervous about meeting new people.
Mom Eberlyn Cuevas was also looking forward to back-to-school day. Her fifth-grade daughter Natalia, 10, got the teacher she wanted and was happy to come back.
Cuevas too said she's looking forward to getting to know the new principal and seeing what she brings to the table.
"I know her ideas will be fresh," she said.
For mom Melissa Farfone, though, the day was more nerve-wracking than exciting.
"I think I'm more nervous than he is," she said.
Farfone's son, Anthony Delgado, 5, started at Killybrooke this year after the family moved.
The first-grader's main concern: how to make friends. Mom had the answer.
"I just told him, 'You need to talk to people and not be shy,'" she said.