Third grader Gabriella Quiñones has plenty of ambitions and fears. The Kearny Elementary School student wants to be a singer and is worried about getting a bad grade in science. Most of all though, she seems really excited to be back at school.

When the pandemic intensified and classes went online in 2020, Gabriella found it so stressful she said she came down with a case of facial paralysis. But standing outside of the front entrance of Kearny on Wednesday morning on the first day of the school, she had an unmistakeable air of confidence.

“I know where everything is,” she said.


Evangeline Aldaca poses with a giant inflatable Minion on Wednesday at the entrance to Kearny Elementary on the first day of school.


Daniel Diaz Jr. gets a hug from his mother, Jaime Ray Diaz, outside Kearny Elementary on Wednesday for the first day of school.


Third grade teacher Brenna Smith chats with her new students, from left, Libni Najarro Paz, Natasha Reyes-Maldonado and Ivanna Lira outside Kearny Elementary on the first day of classes Wednesday.


Ivanna Lira adjusts Isaac Gavurnik’s Pikachu hoodie Wednesday outside Kearny Elementary before the first day of school.

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