Mankato district K-8 students start the new school year

Sep. 7—As dozens of kindergarten through eighth grade students across the Mankato district walked through their school doors Thursday ready for a new year to begin, over at Washington Elementary, second grader Jaxon Diaz said he's looking forward to one thing the most.

"I'm excited to see my friends," he said.

Diaz's mom, Kelly Healy, said she's looking forward to her son furthering his education this year and getting to learn a lot of fun new things but also said her son is growing up fast.

"He's getting too big too quick, but it's a good process, right bud?" she asked him.

Healy was among parents eager for their kids to start a new school year.

Latoya Atkins, whose daughter Antiana Atkins is starting fifth grade, also brought her daughter to school Thursday morning.

"It's a new year. It's exciting," she said. "Plus, this is her last year here. She'll be going to Prairie Winds next year."

Second grader Brynlee O'Rourke said she's looking forward to her favorite class, gym, this year.

"Pretty much in the middle of the school year I think, there's gymnastics stuff," she said.

Her mom, Jenny, said her advice to her daughter is to be herself and have a great year.

She said the two had a great summer and are ready for classes to start again.

"Just getting back on a schedule and learning everything new and being with her friends again," she said about what they're looking forward to.

The students at Washington Elementary will have a rally Friday to welcome everyone back, Principal Ann Haggerty said.

Haggerty said she could feel the excitement as students walked through the doors Thursday morning.

"There is just something energizing and exciting about beginning a new (school year). Brand-new backpacks, new sharpened pencils, clean slate. We're all about learning, and we're all about teaching. A new year gives us all an opportunity to do that. That is invigorating and exciting," she said.

The district's high school students started classes Tuesday.