On a crisp September morning in Ellensburg, fresh lunch-boxes stood at the ready, packed with peanut butter sandwiches and turkey rollups while parents aroused their sleepy, messy-haired children for the first day of school.

Wednesday marked the first day of school for the Ellensburg School District and the streets reflected the chaotic scene of parents dropping their children off and snapping photos.

Central Washington University football players cheered and greeted students at Morgan Middle School and Valley View Elementary, giving students an extra layer of excitement on the big day.

Valley View Elementary’s Principal Rob Moffat welcomed his students back from the summer months. Moffat’s day started at 7:30 a.m. patrolling the school halls, greeting students and finalizing last minute plans for the coming school year.

Moffat said first days can be nerve-racking, but even more so for those who are entering into a new school. According to Moffat, there’s around 45 new students this year, not counting the incoming kindergartners.

“When a student shows up you can tell that they have been anxiously awaiting what they knew and liked previously,” Moffat said. “Or you can tell they’re coming to a new school and they’re scared and curious, and excited to learn what it’s about.”

Moffat believes first days is a good opportunity to make students excited for the academic year, but also to make those first connections early to students who might need a little more support.

Moffat described the new school year as many seasons and one of the many highlights to working in the field.

“It’s kind of like living in a place where there are seasons,” Moffat said, “If you live in Arizona, you don’t have seasons, it’s always hot. But in education is very much seasonal in that your emotions move up and down as things change.”

Moffat smiled and said this is his 10th first day at Valley View and the excitement of a new school year is hard to match to other school days.

Children sharply dressed in brand-new clothes and bright new back packs and stood smiling for photos underneath the Valley View sign.

“There’s been a lot of kids who have taken photos underneath that sign,’ Moffat said. “Kids are the reason why we work at a school.”

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