NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Diego Torres, a brand new ninth-grader, couldn't wait to get to New Rochelle High School today.
"I couldn't sleep because I was so excited," said Torres, who hopes to wrestle for New Rochelle's varsity team this winter. "I hope for varsity. If not, then JV. I also want to do Spanish Literature Club, but I'm not sure."
He was one of the nearly 11,000 students returning to school, or entering class for the first time, across the City School District of New Rochelle this week. At the George M. Davis Jr. Elementary School, fifth-grader Sophia D'Erasmo was looking forward to "getting back to school, learning new things and seeing my friends again."
She likes the teachers at the school. "They're really friendly; you get more of the help you need here,"
she said. She also thought the playground was a plus.
Her favorite subject? "I'd have to say science because of the experiments."
Students through ninth grade were due back in school today. Elementary schools held a half day of classes.
"This is my favorite day of the year," Davis Assistant Principal Laurie Marinaro said as she greeted students streaming off the buses.
Middle school students reported for a short orientation. At New Rochelle High School, new freshmen came in for an all-day orientation. The sophomores, juniors and seniors report to NRHS tomorrow for orientation, after which, the sophomores remain, along with the freshmen. Friday is the first day that all students come for a full day of classes.
Sixth-grader Nancy Mazariegos was eager to tackle her favorite subject, math, at Isaac E. Young Middle School.
"Ever since I was a little girl, it's been math," she said. "It challenges me."
NRHS tried something new this year. Typically, freshmen attend a full day of classes after a brief orientation. This year, however, the freshman orientation was expanded. After an introductory session by Interim Principal Joseph Starvaggi, the students attended various sessions, which included a mindfulness workshop and an introduction to their House principal and its administrative team. They had their photos taken for identification cards and were assigned lockers. They also attended a session with the school's Ignite mentors - juniors and seniors who mentor freshmen.
In an Ignite session, seniors Gianna Cocovinis and Bridget Stack had students navigating school maps and filling out forms about themselves so they could get paired up with a mentor who has a common bond to help ease the transition.