DAYTON - Avalon Newman, 6, opened her lunch box at Dayton Elementary School on Monday to find a heart-shaped note.
"Happy first day of first grade my beautiful princess," it read. "Have so much fun! I love you! Love, Mommy."
And thus far, Avalon said, her mother's wish had come true.
"I met new friends and played new games," she said.
Avalon joined students throughout the Lyon County School District who returned to classes Monday.
She admitted, though, there were drawbacks to first grade over kindergarten.
"Recesses aren't so long, and we stay longer," she said.
However, that no longer holds true.
Starting this year, all kindergarten classes in the Lyon County School District will be all day. Rather than beginning class with the rest of the district, kindergartners at Dayton Elementary School just attended orientation Monday. They will start school today.
Principal Cory Sandberg said he told students and their parents what they could expect from a full day of kindergarten.
"I was able to share some of the Common Core State Standards," he said. "The expectations are higher now. It's going to take a partnership between us and the parents to get there."
Vance Whitt, 6, was excited to get to school to show off his new lunch box.
"It's Angry Birds," he explained, as he held it up for his friends to admire.
The transition went well for Isaac Mays, 6.
"I'm glad I'm in the first grade," he said. "I went to the library, and I had two recesses, and I get to ride the bus."
His friend David Steadman, 6, verified the last part.
"Yeah," he said, "he rides the orange bus with me."
Superintendent Keith Savage spent the day visiting schools across the district.
"I was able to make it to all 17 schools today," he said. "All the principals reported that the start was real smooth, and everything is going well."
Savage took over as superintendent in June after the resignation of Caroline McIntosh. Savage said he was looking forward to the year ahead.
"It is a real exciting time for us," he said.