By Thane Grauel
WESTPORT — The calendar may still say August, but the first day of school Tuesday morning marked the end of summer.
In a blur of yellow buses, red crossing guard signs and crisp back-to-school clothes, Westport’s students headed back to class.
Thomas Gupitz, 10, a fifth grader at Saugatuck Elementary School, shared about a great vacation.
“It was an amazing summer,” he said. “We went to Italy and to France, and had fun at the beach.”
Max McGorty, 6, who was starting first grade at SES, arrived accompanied by his three-year-old brother, Killen, and father, Mike.
Asked if he was excited to start school, he said “No.”
“He learns fast,” joked his dad, who tried to keep the goodbye upbeat with some photo-taking outside the school.
Across town school administrators were happy to be back, especially Coleytown Middle School principal Kris Szabo, who is finally starting the top of a school year at their new building.
“Obviously we’re very excited to be back at Coleytown in a newly renovated building,” she said, noting the staff looked forward to rebuilding their school community and culture.
“We had a fantastic orientation yesterday,” she said, which included sixth graders and new students to the district.
“The kids were so excited, they didn’t want to leave,” she said.
At Kings Highway School Luke McGuinn, 10, a new fifth grader, and his brother, Sebastian, 8, who’s starting third grade, paused outside the school so their mother, Deanne McGuinn, could take a photo.
They then hurried inside.
“I’ll just assume they’re excited,” the mother said.
On Burr Street, crossing guard Rich Space was shepherding kids to school.
“Have an awesome day,” a father called out as his child crossed the street under Space’s watchful eye.
The guard, who kept a running count of the children, said in the past it was only seven or eight kids in a day, but now that’s changed dramatically with COVID.
“It’s close to 50 or 60,” he said. “Less kids take the bus.”
Across town, new fifth grader Marco Vazquez, 10, was likewise walking to Coleytown Elementary School with his dad, Jose Vazquez.
“It feels exciting,” Marco said, “and it feels very enjoyable that I get to see my friends again.”
Aided by her two assistant principals — Chris Breyan and Johanna Davis — CES principal Janna Sirowich was all smiles as she oversaw the drop-off line Tuesday morning.
“We are thrilled to welcome students back for the new school year,” she said.