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New beginnings: Kindergartners mark the first day of school
Parkside Elementary kindergarten students wait in line outside the school before entering on their first day of classes in Monroe Tuesday. Tuesday marked the start of fall classes at most Wisconsin public schools. (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)
MONROE - There weren't many tearful good-byes at the first day of kindergarten at Parkside Elementary School Tuesday.

One parent even exclaimed "Yes!" when the teachers asked if the kids were ready for school.

Matt Thoman, grandfather to a fresh-faced kindergartner, said his granddaughter Abby was excited for the first day of class. She ran around with the rest of the school-bound youngsters on the playground before class started. Thoman said his granddaughter was in 4-K before, so a full day at school will seem like a breeze to her. He said some of her energy was thankfully burnt off by the long weekend.

"They are lucky the school week started out on a holiday," he said of the teachers.

Another parent to a kindergartner, Curt Bartels, said his son Lucas was also excited to start school and join his sister who is in fourth grade. Lucas showed up sharply dressed in a new green plaid shirt with light blue striped shorts and his hair whipped up with product. His keen fashion, however, did not embolden him from looking away when his father tried to take one last picture before the school day started.

About 20 children settled into Megan Cessna's kindergarten class after putting away their backpacks. The group made a square around Cessna for story time. Cessna brought out an oversized paper cut-out of a cookie to pass around during her reading of "Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar?"

Cessna encouraged her students to guess the rhyming pattern in the story to reveal who in fact stole the cookie. The first suspect was a bird, then a dog and frog but many of the students insisted that the cookie bandit was the Cookie Monster from "Sesame Street," despite all rhyme-produced evidence. After story time, the students passed around the paper cookie and announced their names to the class and the special object or toy they brought to class.

Aisha Moen brought along a doll and held it up for the class to see multiple times, obviously proud of her new toy.

"This is from my grandma, and it is new for my birthday," she said.

There were just a couple holdouts Tuesday morning. Two little boys stayed in their chairs - perhaps a little shy - but eventually they joined the kids for "wiggle time," as Cessna called it. The kids bounced and shook and danced to a YouTube video displayed on the Smartboard in the class.

Kaylynn Liphart said her favorite part of school is "to do my music."

"I haven't played in a long time," she said.