It may have been , but not even Hurricane Irene could dampen the excitement of Meriden students and their parents on the first day of school Wednesday.
Jariel Matias, 5, showed off his new Spiderman backpack and the matching folders inside while he was sitting with his family on the steps in front of Israel Putnam School, waiting for afternoon kindergarten to begin.
"He can't wait to get to school," his mother Demaris Matias said.
Jariel's school was one of the five to lose power on Sunday, which was not restored until Monday evening. Hurricane Irene brought a double whammy to Putnam - stranding its principal Anne Jellison in Calfornia.
Jellison reportedly flew to California for a wedding last weekend and then had her return flight canceled due to the storm, said Enza Adamcewicz, the school's Instructional Associate. Adamcewicz was in charge in Jellison's absence.
"She is anxiously awaiting coming back, I'm sure she hated to miss the first day of school," Adamcewicz said. She spent the day bringing each new class into the cafeteria to go over the school and what's expected of them there, then sitting in the cafeteria with them over lunch and talking about their summers. Jellison is expected to return to school Friday.
Superintendent Mark Benigni spent his day visiting each school in the district.
"Today’s been a terrific day. You always get a little bit anxious for opening day and when you have to push it off two days... We wanted to make sure things ran smoothly," Benigni said.
Staff at the 12 schools in the district had been scrambling to prepare for the storm last week and then again to get everything ready for the first day. Post-storm, debris and minor water problems had to be cleaned up, and without power and then back again when they regained it. But Benigni said the biggest issue he'd seen was first day traffic.
"Not every school has adequate parking for every parent and grandparent on opening day," he said. "Everyone was patient and understanding, though. We’re off to a good start."
At Casimir Pulaski Elementary School, Fourth grader Eric Gonzalez, 9, said he thought his first day was "Good, we got to do fun stuff," like interactive reading projects. His mother Nicole Thurber, who was picking him up, said she lost power for 36 hours after the storm, but having Gonzalez home for two extra days without electricity wasn't bad. "He did very well, he did not complain at all," she said.
Back at Israel Putnam Betty Sanchez, who was walking her granddaughter Kamryn Yepez to kindergarten at Putnam Wednesday, said that waiting two days to start wasn't so bad, in the scheme of things.
"I think we were very lucky," she said, compared to other communities hit by Irene. Her home lost power for a day and a half, but she went to a relative's house when she needed to.
Demaris Matias though it would have been better just to start the year next Tuesday, so kids would have more of a full week.
Altagracia Rodico's kindergartner Brian Moran agreed. "He doesn't like going in the middle of the week," she said, leading a worried-looking 5-year-old near the school for his first day.
Kristi Webb, who has one child at Lincoln Middle School, one at Maloney High School said "My kids couldn't wait," to start school, when she sent them off this morning. "Then at the end of the year they can't wait to get out."
For a photo gallery of the first day at Hanover School in South Meriden Click HERE.