Irish smiles and tears as school resumes


Sinead was hoping Ms. Costa will teach her to read like her big sisters. She was looking forward to her first day.

“Today we will paint I think and I will meet lots of new friends,” she said happily.

Big sister Kate, who was getting ready for fourth grade, promised to look out for her youngest sibling at school, just like she has looked out for Lilly and Aine in the past.

And when not looking out for her siblings, Kate said she was excited to get back to learning mathematics, her favorite subject.

Math, however, was far from Lilly’s mind.

“I love reading,” shared Lilly.

And her little sister, Aine, prefers writing.

As the girls huddled together the excitement began to show on their faces, and proud Siobhan was there to document it all on camera.

For best friends Jack Rooney and Jack Deere, Tuesday couldn’t have come any quicker. Rooney, 5, and Deere, 4, have been best friends since they were born, and both of them were about to begin the venture of kindergarten together.

Unfortunately, while waiting for the doors to open, it was unclear if the boys would be in the same class, but nevertheless it was obvious by their camaraderie that meeting in the playground on a daily basis was high on their agenda.

Jack Rooney, son of Siobhan from County Clare and Mike Rooney, from County Galway, was all smiles as he let go his mother’s hand, much to her heartbreak, to run around with Jack Deere and his new friends.

When asked if he was looking forward to his new adventure in school, Jack Rooney nodded and smiled big while saying “yes.”

Rooney, carrying a “Wall-E” movie school bag on his back, said he was not going to study math, but his favorite part about his new school was meeting new friends.

Jack Deere, son of Julia Hunt from England and Mick Deere from County Limerick, attended pre-kindergarten last year and was a little wiser on what goes on behind the big school doors. He promised he would help his best friend settle in and show him the ropes.

“Come on Jack,” urged little Deere as he hugged his friend tightly.

Together the boys found a space in between the hoards of parents and children to play before the bell rang.

At 8:30 a.m. on the dot the big school doors opened and one by one parents, several with tears in their eyes, let go of their babies. The children, some screeching with fear of the unknown, held on tightly to the hands and legs of their parents.

Ten minutes later the schoolyard was empty. The parents, handkerchiefs tucked away into their pockets, got into their cars and got on with their day.

The children settled into small school chairs in their new classrooms while beginning the journey into their education.