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Many decked in new gear, Swannanoa Valley students in the Buncombe County School system were up early for the return to school on Aug. 29. Parents parked and walked elementary aged children to their classrooms at Black Mountain Primary.

Emotions of students at Black Mountain Primary ranged from giddy to nervous in Mrs. McLemore's second grade class.

"Exciting, nice teachers, hungry for lunch, sleepy, fun, can't wait for recess" are the words a group of students used during lunch to sum up how the first day back at school was going.

Black Mountain Primary started the day at 8 a.m., by late morning many students were hungry, eagerly marching into the school cafeteria. Some tried school lunch for the first time, and others brought favorite lunch box items.

Jamie Keyse was "really excited" to be back in school. Most days, she said, her dad needs to ask her several times to get up. "I got up really quick today," she said.

She expressed excitement about meeting her teacher and others in her class.

For Sophia Wright, the best part of the first day back to school was making new friends.

"I am happy and I am tired," she said. She was especially pleased to get the teacher she wanted, she added.

Mason Lamotte said he was "really nervous and really excited at the same time." His family parked closeby to school and walked a few blocks together to drop him off, a regular school day routine tradition they share.

Now in second grade, he was unsure if he would remember the academics from last year.

"I didn't know if I would still know how to do the math," he said. He wondered about his new classroom rules and did not know if his teacher would be "strict," he said.  But by lunchtime, Mason was all smiles;  "I already love my teacher, Mrs. McLemore,"  he said. He was no longer nervous, but ready to dig into lunch.

Outside on the playground, squeals of joy and the happy sounds of children playing were easy to hear. Students moved quickly between playground equipment, up and down bars and on swings, and chased one another on the field. A pick up soccer game formed, while some students shot baskets.

With around nine months still to go in the school year, second grader Mason had already drawn his own conclusion.

"This is a great school," he said. "And I already like my class."

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