The end of summer vacation usually isn't cause for celebration, but you wouldn't know it from some of the smiling faces and enthusiastic attitudes students brought with them for the first day of classes Wednesday at Virginia Lake Elementary School in Palatine.

"It's going to be good," is how 11-year-old Isabel Steinbach described her return to school from summer break. "It's cool," said Lailany Murillo, 10.

They were among the more than 12,000 Palatine Township Elementary School District 15 students who headed back to classes Wednesday, along with hundreds of principals, teachers and support staff. The district is the second largest elementary district in the state, encompassing all or part of seven communities: Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, South Barrington, Arlington Heights and Schaumburg.