GREENE — Standing outside Greene Central School early Wednesday, Tammy and Matthew Dumont fought back tears as they said goodbye to Dylan, 5, who was starting kindergarten.

“I hope he stops crying soon and wants to participate,” Tammy said. “He’s scared.” Both parents said their only child going to school was bittersweet.

“At open house, I started crying. I had to turn,” Matthew said, as yellow buses pulled up and dropped off students.

Students at Greene Central School — and at hundreds of schools across Maine — went back to class Wednesday with smiles and a few tears, especially from kindergarten students and parents.

Cadence Firth, 5, was all smiles wearing a new butterfly backpack, new pink sneakers, a new white dress with ruffles and a bow. “It’s my school dress,” she said. “These are my school shoes. My daddy got me these. Pink and white are my favorite colors.”

“She’s very fashion savvy,” her mother, Jolene Adams, said. School “is her cup of tea,” her mother said. “She loves meeting new people.”

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A few feet away, Sabella Gibbs, 5, stood with her father, Michael. “I’m happy,” she said about starting kindergarten.

Landon Marquis, 5, shrugged when asked if he was looking forward to kindergarten. His mother, Samantha Marquis, was happy and sad. Landon’s father, Scott, held 2-year-old Garrett and said, “There were a lot of tears this week. Not from any of us,” he said, looking at his wife, Samantha.

“I’m going to pass out,” she said. “It’s too much for me.” She bought her Landon a shirt that says, “Class of 2028. I got him an adult large.” Landon gave his mother a kiss and hug, his dad a high-five, and headed inside.

The first day of kindergarten will be a day of guidance, teacher Kristen Doyle said. “It’s a big touch day in class. They literally touch everything. We’ll probably have a few cry.”

As she led her students into the building, parents called out: “Bye!” “I love you!” “Have a great day!”

In the kindergarten class, little ones found their cubbyholes and put their backpacks away. They sat down in a circle to introduce themselves and share what they did this summer.

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Julia said she went to Funtown and liked riding the train. She turned and said good morning to Ryan, who announced he’s going to Sebago Lake this weekend. “It’s humongous!” he said.

Zayden said this summer he went to the ocean and swam in the waves. His story got better. “I got to see all kinds of sharks. One came toward me.” The shark gave him a kiss, he said.

“That sounds like a big story,” his teacher said.

Next up was Brayden who enjoyed playing on the swing set. Landon rode a roller coaster. “It was a fast one!” he said.

Sabella went to Story Land, Joseph to Old Orchard Beach. “There were giant, big waves,” he said. “No sharks.”

Logan and Adella went to the beach. Asked what he did this summer, Jaxx said, “I don’t know.”

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Cadence said, “I went shopping.” They bought food. Her favorite food is peanuts.

“I went to the balloon festival,” Parker announced. “I saw humongous ones!

Introductions out of the way, it was down to business.

“Eyes over here,” Doyle said. “Does anybody know what day today is?”

“Wednesday,” they answered.

Principal Pam Doyen said teachers were in the building all summer getting classrooms ready. “People think teachers have the summers off,” she said. “They don’t.”

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The first day of school is her favorite day, Doyen said. “The excitement is palpable. You can just feel it. The kids are excited, the staff is excited. We aim to hold that all year and keep that excitement going.”

Alexa Romero, 9, predicted school was going to be “very fun. I like the first day of school. Everybody’s dressed up nice. Everybody gets to know each other and make new friends.”

Austin McLean, 9, said going back was “nerve-racking.” Why? “Homework.”

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“I like the first day of school. Everybody’s dressed up nice. Everybody gets to know each other and make new friends.” — Alexa Romero, 9, Greene Central School


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