VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Early Thursday morning, thousands of students across Valdosta returned school.
One school is looking to ease the transition for students leaving their parents for the very first time.
Sallas Mallone Elementary hosted its back-to-school Boo-Hoo Breakfast.
The breakfast is for the parents to spend time with their children before sending them off to start their elementary school career.
Denisha and Sionte Campbell said it was hard separating from their oldest child.
“I’m sad," Denisha said. “I really want her to come home with me now and I hope she has a better day tomorrow. She had a small breakdown in the cafeteria, but hope she gets a little better."
After, the pair shared that they were off to drop off their son Brayden for his first day of pre-school.
Sionte said he was on deployment for his daughter’s first day last year. He said that he was all too happy to make it this time.
Meanwhile, students returning to Valdosta Middle School may have noticed that things look a little different.
Students arrived to campus for the first time this year to see the freshly built STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, academy.
Crews began construction over a year ago and completed the facility about a month ago.
Eighth-grader Fiora Shen said she is excited for the new year and hoping to focus specifically on math.
“New connections," Shen said. “It’s a new year. I just want to be a better version of myself and really work on my education. Just to get it higher. Last year I got a B. This year I don’t want to get a B, so there’s that."
Shen just returned from a study abroad program over the summer. She said it’s going to be hard for the school year to top that but she’s excited to be back.
The new STEM academy is accessible to the entire school.
It houses 16 classrooms, state-of-the-art science labs and special equipment.