Irish smiles and tears as school resumes
Emotional back to school day for Irish-American children in Yonkers
Dinosaurs were the only things on the mind of four-year-old Patrick Dillon as he waited patiently with his parents, sister and grandfather for the door of his new school to open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8.
Patrick, along with hundreds of other children, has been waiting all summer for his first day of school.
Patrick, while he waited with excitement beside his dad Patrick senior, told the Irish Voice and IrishCentral he wanted to learn all about dinosaurs when he got through the doors of the Yonkers Montessori Academy on Tuesday.
“I love dinosaurs,” said Patrick as he turned around to reveal a large “Ice Age” movie backpack with a picture of a dinosaur.
Trying to make a good impression on his new kindergarten teacher, Patrick opened up his Thomas the Tank lunch box.
“I brought the teacher an apple,” he said with a smile.
While mom Marilyn kept Patrick’s baby sister Gianna occupied, Patrick’s grandfather, Brian Dillon, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from County Galway and County Cork, took numerous pictures of his grandson.
“Look,” pointed Patrick as he noticed his friends with their parents come through the gates. Instantly Patrick looked more relaxed knowing he wasn’t going to be alone on the first day of this new venture.
For mom Sinead Horan, a County Galway emigrant, Tuesday meant double the heartache. Horan, who has lived in the U.S. for 14 years, was the first to arrive at the Montessori school with her two sons, Connor, 5 and Dara, 4.
It was the first day at school for both children. Although Dara, the younger of the two, was eager to get going, it was Connor who didn’t want to leave his mommy’s side.
When the boys were asked if they were excited about their first day, Connor shook his head sadly while Dara nodded with excitement.
As Dara ran up and down the steps of the school, Connor sat quietly on a corner step not looking too pleased.
“There could be tears yet from this one,” smiled Horan as she prepared to say goodbye to her two boys.
Tuesday was also a special day for the Birdy family. Sinead, from County Westmeath and Gary, from County Monaghan, held on tight to the hand of their four-year old daughter Aoife, who was dressed in a neatly pressed navy uniform with an orange backpack strewn across her back.
“It’s a Strawberry Shortcake bag,” Aoife informed the Irish Voice/IrishCentral as she waved at a little boy she recognized across the yard.
Aoife was excited to start school. She was looking forward to having more time with her friends in the playground and getting to know other kids.
“I will make new friends,” she said confidently.
Thinking about the academic side of school, Aoife said she was going to be learning “letters” on her first day at school.
While Aoife’s baby sister Maeve was at home eating Cheerios, the oldest Birdy child wasn’t fazed by the amount of traffic coming into the schoolyard. As long as she could see her friends, she wasn’t bothered.
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