High spirits were palpable among the staff and students of the Darien Public Schools Thursday morning with everyone welcomed back for the first official day of school.

“The first day of the year is the most exciting day because everyone is anticipating all the opportunities and success that awaits them,” said Shelley Somers, principal at Middlesex Middle School.

“The first day is special because it’s a day to reconnect with old friends and make new friends,” said Paula Bleakley, principal at Holmes Elementary School.

And while there was a lot that was new and exciting for everyone, there was also a sense of returning to usual for many.

“It feels normal,” said student Casey Warble, 16, a junior at Darien High School, “back into the routine.”

“We are delighted to welcome our students back,” said Ellen Dunn, principal at the high school. “The school is empty over the summer as we prepare, and they bring the life back to our environment.”

“That’s why we’re here,” she said.

Schools Superintendent Alan Addley rode the bus on Friday morning with Tokeneke School kindergartners. He said the atmosphere for the start of school was happy and positive, and said there were almost no bus hiccups.

Schuyler, one of the kindergartners who joined Addley on the bus, was nervous until she saw the superintendent, her father said.

“We couldn’t be happier to have him as the DPS Superintendent,” he said in an email to The Darien Times.