Smiles spread across youngsters' faces as they walked onto the Pine Island Elementary campus Wednesday morning sporting their new backpacks ready for the school year to unfold.
Angie Spees said her daughter, Sage Romero, a 1st grade student this year, was so excited about coming to school Wednesday that she woke up at 4:30 that morning.
She said they had been preparing for the first day of school on Aug. 8 by shopping for supplies and purchasing new clothing. Spees said she took advantage of the tax-free weekend to make sure her children had everything they needed.
Caydon walked to his classroom on the first day of school with his mom Heather Wilkins Wednesday morning at Pine Island Elementary School.
"Very beneficial," she said of the tax-free holiday.
Jocelyn Ranno, 5, and her best friend Skylee Sistare, 5, were also ready to begin kindergarten last week.
As the two girls stood at the front of the school, they saw many of their friends, hugging many of them and having their picture taken by their parents.
Jocelyn said she was excited to see her teacher Wednesday morning.
The girls met their teacher during open house Monday, Aug. 6.
"The open house went great," Lindsay Ranno said. "The teachers are awesome."
Jessica Hendricks, Skylee's mother, said the kids were more ready for the first day of school than the parents were.
Many parents walked their children to their classroom Wednesday morning to wish them well on the first day of school. Although the kids were eager to sit down in the classroom, many kindergarten parents shed a few tears as their little ones started school for the first time.
Pine Island Elementary School Principal Robert Mazzoli said the first day of school went smoothly.
"Seamless," he said. "The kids knew exactly where to go. It was really a good day."
Mazzoli said the highlight of his morning was watching the parents walk their children to their classroom knowing that their child is safe and will be well taken care of throughout the day.
"It is a rewarding feeling for me as the principal," he said.
The children who arrived at school and did not have supplies were given everything they needed at the front office, which Mazzoli thanked the Matlacha Hookers for.
He said he also had the opportunity to visit every classroom on the first day to say hello to the students.
The kindergarten students were well acclimated to their surroundings and rules of elementary school on the first day as well.
The kindergartners, Mazzoli said, practiced walking on the blue lines with bubble faces, which is the quiet walk signal, as well as practicing going through the lunch line, so they knew what to do when they went and got their lunch later on in the day.
Once lunch arrived, he said that went smoothly as well.
"The kids were in, got their lunches and they knew where to go," Mazzoli said.
The staff at Pine Island Elementary School helped make the day successful.
"Everyone was truly being a team player today," he said.
Although the morning bus arrival went great Wednesday morning, he said the buses arrived 10 minutes late, which is typical on the first day of school. As the week progressed, Mazzoli said the transportation improves and the buses arrive on time.
Now entering his 6th year at Pine Island Elementary School, Mazzoli said he has had the privilege of watching many of his kindergarten students grow and mature over the years.