Students gathered with their parents by the front gates, glanced excitedly towards their classrooms on school grounds and took pictures with other children by the school mascots waiting for the first day of school to begin.

“I’m looking forward to better grades in math,” said Maddie Bryant, who’s going into third grade at Cummings Valley Elementary School.

Piper Myrick, who goes to Jacobsen Middle School, said her wish was that she had “nice teachers that have some discipline, but are not mean... and I’m hoping to make new friends in my classes.”

Each school had different ways of welcoming students on their first day. At Cummings Valley Elementary School, teachers and administration staff lined up at the entrance with warm smiles, applause and to give welcoming high-fives.

Parent Megan McGinnis, who’s son was starting third grade at Cummings Valley Elementary School, said, “It’s new adventures and time to grow.”

More than 4,400 students from kindergarten to 12th grade are enrolled in the Tehachapi Unified School District for the 2018-2019 school year, with the district operating three elementary schools, one middle school, an alternative education school and one comprehensive high school, said the districts website at teh.k12.ca.us. That is more than 200 above last school year's recorded number.