“Hello! Hi guys, good morning!”

With a warm welcome from principal Lisa Vrvilo, more than 400 students at Cottonwood Creek Elementary School kicked off the first day of the 2019-2020 school year on Thursday.

Vrvilo’s been principal here for 13 years and was named the 2017 National Distinguished Principal.

“We have deep relationships with a lot of our families here, so it’s fun time for us to come together,” Vrvilo said. “Being able to see the kids and their families is probably my favorite part of the day.”

Some kids said they didn’t like the early wake-up call, but others were ready to be back.

“Probably seeing all my friends,” said fifth-grader Riley Hannaman.

In Kathy McCollum’s first-grade class, students quickly settled in coloring their worksheets.

“My favorite part of school is getting to meet the new students.  A new group of students feels like Christmas to me,” she said.

Almost-6-year-old Skylee Hernandez said her favorite part of the first day was, “Doing like fun stuff. Like drawing and everything.”

The kids will spend the first few days getting to know their new classmates and the proper procedures and expectations for first grade.

“Kind of getting the feel of the school and the classroom so we can get to work,” McCollum said.

McCollum makes sure to set her students up for success as they prepare for the year ahead because first grade is all about learning the basics, like what sounds different letters make.

After her class went through the entire alphabet, McCollum said, “Oh my goodness, that was fabulous. The best first day ever.”

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