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Smiles abundant across Anoka-Hennepin schools as 2019-20 school year begins

First day photos (09/03/19) Early morning clouds evaporated to make way for bright, sunny skies by the time the last of Anoka-Hennepin’s 40-plus schools and sites opened their doors to students on the first day of school Sept. 3.

More than 37,000 students filled buses with excitement and brought laughter and smiles to schools around the district on the first day, and for staff, the first day always has a special feel to it.

“I always enjoy the first day of school,” said Jeff Leach, principal of Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids. “It’s exciting to see the school filled with students again — to see the smiles.”

At the newly opened Sunrise Elementary School in Blaine, Principal Deb Shepard greeted students being dropped off by parents/guardians at the front entrance of the school, helping them feel more at ease.

“It’s an exciting time — and something the staff here (at Sunrise) have been looking forward to for a while,” she said. “It’s a great day. I’m so excited for this school year to begin.”

Check out scenes from the first day of school at a number of schools around the district:

Also, check out the district's Twitter at for more back-to-school photos.