HUNTINGTON — Huntington Elementary School students said goodbye to their families and hello to their teachers and classmates for the first time for the school year Thursday morning.

Eight-year-old Luke Moore’s top priority for his first day was having fun. However, he said he was excited for his science class.

“Science is my favorite subject,” Luke said. “I just like testing stuff out.”

Luke’s mom, Heather Moore, said she was ready to get back to the school year routine, and he was ready to see his friends again.

“This is his last year on this campus,” Heather said. “He’s a big third-grader, big man on campus.”

Six-year-old Paisley Arnold said she was most excited to get to draw again in art.

“My favorite thing to draw is goats,” Paisley said.

Paisley’s mother, Lindsey Arnold, said they have a goat farm at home.

“I’m a little nervous today,” Lindsey said. “It feels harder this year than kindergarten for some reason. But we’ve said our prayers. We’re prepared.”

Six-year-old Paisley Henderson said she was excited to see her friends and meet her teacher.

“She likes it here,” Paisley’s mom Tonya Torbert said. “She’s in good hands.”

Talbert said she wasn’t quite ready to have the house to herself again, but Paisley was excited to be going back.

Science lab instructor Robbyne Arnold was greeting the students as they got out of their cars and monitoring traffic on the first day.

“I like being the first one to greet the kids in the morning,” Arnold said. “Some of them might not be feeling too great, but you can perk them up and get them ready for the day. That’s what they need.”

Principal Lauren Hooper said the first day is all about building positive relationships with the students and their families.

“You have to capture a kid’s heart before you can capture their mind,” Hooper said.

“I love the excitement, the smiles. Sometimes you see parents crying, and you get to comfort them. It’s an exciting time.”

The vision for the campus this year is L.E.A.D. — love learning, excel in all we do, achieve goals together and do what’s right. The campus theme is traveling, so their motto is, “In all your travels, lead.”

Hooper said the teachers will be encouraging the students to be leaders in all they do. Whether it be watering the plants or comforting a friend, all kids can be leaders, she said.

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.