It's a photograph on display on family mantles, shelves and tables across the country—sons and daughters with new backpacks, shoes and clothes, walking away as they head off to their first day of school.
That was the picture Luz Lent and dozens of other parents were there to take at the front entrance of Wednesday morning as students, and parents, prepared for the first day of class.
"It's tough, it's your baby going by himself on the bus," Lent said. "It's a little touching."
After dropping her son off at the bus stop earlier in the day, Lent said she wanted to be there when he arrived at school to make sure he made it to his classroom. Tashia Brown, the principal at Ridgeway Elementary, said parents of Kindergarteners are invited to stick around for a few minutes even after the bell rings to get comfortable enough to say goodbye.
"It's an adjustment for them as well as the child," Brown said. "They have to trust us, they're leaving their babies here."
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As she enters her third year as principal at the school, Brown said that moment with parents as they leave their children for the first time is her favorite part of the new school year.
"It's their first time, everything is new," she said of the Kindergarteners. "We dry tears, we have lots of Kleenex, we give lots of hugs."
Teachers were out in full force greeting children in all grades as they got on the bus for the first day of school Wednesday. A couple of dozen parents were there too, to take pictures and make sure things are going okay. Once inside the kids will spend most of the day getting acquainted with their new teachers, who will help make sure they are comfortable in their new surroundings.
Although already more of a routine, the first day of school is an exciting one for older students as well. Maria Stone, whose son is entering the fourth grade this year, said there is always something special about the first day.
"I think he's pretty excited," she said. "If you asked him last week if he's ready to go back to school they say no, but he was up early, ate breakfast and was ready to go."
While Wednesday was a chance to get back into the school-year routine for the older students, it's a day parents of the younger students likely won't ever forget. One many parents will have in the form of a picture for years to come.
"It is very emotional," said Lent, moments before her son arrived on the bus. "You have this little baby and all of a sudden he's this big kid and ready to go to school."
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