School is in session but it’s not just any day for students arriving at school, it’s all brand new!

“There’s a lot of students coming from many different elementary schools feeding into this elementary and we wanted everyone to feel really good about this experience,” Elk Ridge Elementary Principal Alivia Wamboldt said.

Students and parents were greeted with a warm welcome from the school mascot, who hasn’t been named just yet.

“I’ve heard Ernie, I’ve heard Erbert, I’ve heard so many different names that seem to start with an E,” Wamboldt said. “There’s a lot of students coming from many different elementary schools feeding into this elementary and we wanted everyone to feel really good about this experience,”

The Elk Mascot is not the only surprise students were in for. The North Dakota Army National Guard did the honor of raising the flag, followed by the pledge of Allegiance.

“It’s special to start the day out right for the students and make them feel a part of a team bigger than themselves,” ND Army National Guard Captain Vanessa Lennick said.

Lennick is also a parent to a third and fifth grader at the school.

“There’s such great administration, and they’re just so exciting and they’ll have a blast,” she said.

There are many emotions to be felt when returning to school and that’s just what kindergarten teacher Brittany Kuester demonstrated during story time.

“I read ‘First Day Jitters’ by Jullie Dannenberg. It’s a popular book that a lot of educators read on the first or second day of school,” Kuester said.

She is excited about teaching inside the new building.

“The classroom is beautiful. I feel very fortunate to be an educator here at Elk Ridge, but what really makes it special is the wonderful team of educators that I get to work with and the kiddos,” Kuester said.

“It’s such a gift to be able to open a school in this day of age. We know that our construction crews are working very hard to come to a final conclusion on this project,” Wamboldt said.