Nervous children stepped off the bus Tuesday and were greeted with a warm smile and a handshake at Mechanics Grove Elementary School in Mundelein.
Principal Kathleen Miller and Mundelein Elementary District 75's new superintendent, Andy Henrikson, handled the welcoming duties on the first day of the new school year.
"I remember every first day," Henrikson said. "I always promise that this is going to be the best year ever for each student. That is our goal."
Mechanics Grove has an enrollment of 528 students this year in grades third through fifth.
The new students hugged friends and rushed to get to their classrooms as they began the process of learning new names and discovering the challenges they would face in their new classes.
"I think I am going to have a good year. I am really excited about band and playing the trombone. And, I am excited about going to Camp Duncan later this year," fifth-grader Gavin Fiedler said.
During a morning assembly, Miller discussed the school becoming a Lighthouse School for Leadership, a process that has taken three years to accomplish.
The program empowers children to take ownership of their learning and behavior through the principles of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Steven R. Covey.