Aug 28, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterKylee Blumenshine's first day of kindergarten was less stressful for her than for her little sister, Brailee, 3, who didn't want to leave Aspen Park Elementary School after dropping Kylee off Monday.
"We have to go," mom Becca Blumenshine said patiently, kneeling in front of the reluctant Brailee as crowds of older children made their way through the halls.
Most of the Aspen students seemed excited to get to school. Karsone Walthers, 5, even styled his orange hair in a special do for the day.
"It's a mohawk," he said, feeling at the spikes on top of his head.
His mom, Hailee Crippen, said she wasn't worried about his first day in "big school" at all.
"He's wonderful," she said as her son ran to say hello to a classmate.
The boys walked into school with their parents trailing behind them, while other families stopped to take pictures before entering the building. Aspen principal Andrea Verosky greeted students at the door, letting parents know where to check in and drop off their children while answering questions about bus stops and room numbers.
"We're just excited to have a great year," Verosky said.
Riverton High School students shared her enthusiasm as they waited for their first-day pep rally to begin. Teens stood in clusters with their friends, exchanging summer stories and taking group pictures before heading to the gymnasium to find a seat in the bleachers.
Teachers were in celebration mode, too, wearing big smiles on their faces as they monitored the students' activities.
"Whether or not you're prepared for them, they always show up," instructor Tanya Santee said, following a group of students toward the gym, where principal Joanne Flanagan was ready to welcome this year's student body.
"Good morning," she called out to the group. "I know you're all so excited."
She specifically acknowledged this year's seniors, welcoming them back for their final year of high school. Members of the class of 2013 whooped and hollered from their section of the gym, showing off their Wolverine pride in front of their younger peers.
During a break in the festivities, seniors Bree Olson, Celeste Rotholz and Amy Woodward said they plan to savor their last semesters at RHS.
"I don't want it to go too fast," Rotholz said. "I'm going to focus and have the best year yet."
The girls had some advice for incoming freshmen who may be intimidated during their first weeks as high schoolers. First, Olson said with a smile, make sure not to park in the seniors' parking spots. As long as underclassmen follow that rule, she said, everything should be fine.
"Be ready for some fun," Olson said, dancing as the RHS drum line prepared for its morning performance.
Woodward said freshmen should try not to be nervous about the coming year, and Rotholz suggested they just try to "be nice" to each other.
"Don't try to be too showy and out there," she said. "Don't try to overdo it."
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