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September 5, 2013

Let the learning begin

First-day enthusiasm abounds in city schools

The swings at Veterans Memorial Elementary School creaked to life Wednesday morning, as did play sets and school buildings across the city’s school districts as Gloucester students returned to school for the start of the year.

Kids swarmed the playground in the early morning at Veterans, hanging upside down from monkey bars, breezing up the play set stairs, and lining the slide ladder.

New principal Matthew Fusco, along with some Veterans teachers, welcomed the students and grinned at the kids milling in circles around them.

“This is it. This is where the rubber meets the road,” Fusco said.

While a few students expressed first-day jitters and a couple of moms slipped on sunglasses and bit their lips as they waved goodbye to their little ones, many of the children expressed enthusiasm and excitement for the new school year.

Third-grader Chloe Aiello was one of many students glad to rejoin old friends, she explained, as she climbed up a spiral slide toward another third grader she knew from school and summer camp.

“I like to see my friends from old classes and stuff,” said Chloe.

While fifth-grader Hunter Bradstreet and third-grader Tyler Santiago looked forward to playing in gym class with Coach Joe Brancaleone, fifth-grader Richard Klyce said he was ready to hit the books again.

Richard, whose favorite subject is reading, though he also likes math, social studies and science, read books from the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, and the Goosebumps series over the summer.

“I’m feeling good being back at school and seeing all my teachers,” Richard said.

Moms continued to arrive toting pink and sparkly plastic backpacks. They walked their children up to the playground, grasping their hands until the kids recognized friends and took off with a squeal.

More teachers emerged from the school, and the joyful pandemonium began to settle. The same moms gathered their children back into hugs.

“It’s time,” one boy yelled, taking off to join others lining up for the first day of a new year.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at

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