Hamden students traded sun and fun for classrooms and books Thursday as the 2013-14 school year commenced.
And for some, it was harder on family members than the children themselves.
"I've been taking care of him for three years, and now he's going to school. I can't believe it," said Betsy Mirandez, who was accompanying her nephew to his first day of school at Helen Street School.
"I think it's going to be harder on me than him," she said with a laugh as she watched him enter the building Thursday morning. "Him — he's excited. He's been talking about nothing else for weeks."
About 7,000 students returned the the classroom Thursday, about 2,200 of those at Hamden High School and 1,200 at Hamden Middle School.
The new school year brings with it preparation for new learning standards as the state embarks as one of 27 piloting new Common Core State Standards.
"The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them," according to its mission statement.