SCUSD community celebrates a day of ‘firsts’

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Ethan Roach, Emma Roach and Olivia Messer -- all 5 -- are ready for their first day of kindergarten at Matsuyama Elementary School. Click the image to see more photos.Seniors at the School of Engineering and Sciences bask in the morning sun.Students in C.K. McClatchy's Class of 2014 embrace the pre-dawn hours.

High school seniors returned to campuses early on Tuesday — really early — to carry on SCUSD’s long-standing “Senior Sunrise” tradition.

At high school campuses throughout the district, students in the class of 2014 gathered just before 6:30 a.m. to watch the sun rise on the first day of their last year together, a poignant start to the new school year. They will also gather on the last day of school to watch the sun set.

Donuts and coffee helped many survive the pre-dawn activity.

A few hours later, parents walked kindergartners to classes for the first day of their first year of school. As they snapped photos and chatted with other parents, many expressed mixed emotions.

“I’m a little bit sad,” said Matsuyama Elementary School parent Julie Chang with son Michael Vang, 5. “He’s the baby and he’s always been home with me.”

Cindy Messer, parent of Matsuyama kindergartner Olivia, 5, said she was relieved to see so many familiar faces waiting outside her daughter’s new classroom. Many of the students were friends from soccer programs and preschool programs.

It’s so nice that there’s so many kids that know each other,” she said. “That really helps.”