Today was the first day of the 2007-08 Waxahachie ISD school year.

At Marvin Elementary, children arrived for their first day of kindergarten accompanied by their parents, grandparents, siblings — and in some cases, even aunts and uncles.

Even though most arrived well before the first bell rang, the long line and heavy traffic made it virtually impossible for children to be in their classrooms before the sound of the tardy bell. Many shed tears brought on by the flood of emotions experienced at the event.

“I cried. My brother cried, too,” said Dawn Castleberry, mother of two children, the oldest now in kindergarten.

Castleberry’s brother was there with her to share in the experience. “He (her son) dealt with it better than we did.”

Castleberry, laughing while still wiping tears from her eyes, said, “I told my son, ‘You’re a big boy,’ and he said, ‘I’m a big boy and next I’ll be driving cars.’”

Cars filled the parking lots and lined the streets at the other elementary schools as well. Many parents parked their cars to walk into the building with their children, accompanying them all the way to their classroom.

This process, a ritual for many, began from the moment the school doors opened and continued well after what, on almost any other school day, would warrant the receipt of a tardy slip.

Angel Davis stood on the sidewalk outside Marvin Elementary moments after delivering her son to his classroom. Davis is the mother of five, with one on the way.

“My kids were so excited about the first day of school,” explained Davis, “that we started marking the days off on the calendar some time ago.”

Davis’ oldest child is a second grader at Shackelford Elementary this year.

“I love both schools (Marvin and Shackelford elementaries),” said Davis. “My son was in the pre-K program at Marvin. They were really good with him.”

Davis told of her initial terror at leaving her son in the care of someone else because he suffered from seizures and had special needs. But Davis went on to explain how the staff at Marvin Elementary eased those fears almost immediately when she witnessed the wonderful care they gave him.

Davis was just as pleased with Shackelford Elementary.

“My son enjoyed his first year of first grade there,” said Davis.

With school now back in session, officials are urging motorists to drive with added caution — especially when traveling through school zones.