EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — For some students, Summer break has come to an end. Freshman and sophomore students at Mater Dei arrived bright and early for their first day of school, a day filled with both nerves and excitement.

“I look forward to it,” says Mater Dei Principal Darin Knight. “I know I enjoy Summer, but I really look forward to getting started again and seeing all the kids.”

The COVID-era staggered start continued for Mater Dei, with only freshmen and sophomores attending on opening day. Principal Knight says this helps new faces acclimate to their new place.

“We have to remember for these kids, these freshmen coming in today, it’s their first time entering high school,” says Knight. “It is very important for them and exciting and a day we hope they will remember, but we also need to be here for them, answer their questions, and just get started on the right foot.”

Parents are adjusting, too. With a new freshman in the family, Amanda Bohleber now balances having three children in high school at once.

“For our first day, it’s just staying organized and encouraging the kids to be relaxed,” explains Bohleber. “This is a great time of life, want them to be excited, make memories to grow as students, so just stay relaxed and have fun.”

Upperclassmen were on hand to assist younger students on their first day. For the seniors, the new school year brings ranging emotions.

“It’s been flying by, the past 3 years, and now my senior year, the last chance to do a lot of things,” explains senior James Bohleber. “I’m excited, but I’m also kind of fearing the end.”

Fellow senior Cara Schlachter adds, “It’s just kind of a full-circle moment, knowing that you were those freshmen and getting to come back and help, especially those teachers, knowing there’s other help in the room.”

Senior Mallory Kempf says assisting with freshman orientation was a nostalgic experience.

“It feels just like yesterday I was here,” recalls Kempf. “I remember I was looking around, I was lost, I was late to my first class because I couldn’t find it. And now that I’m here, I’m leading around the other freshman, it’s just crazy because the 4 years have flown by.”