MANHATTAN — Little Maalia Noel took some coaxing to get out of bed Thursday morning for her first day back to school at P.S. 198 on the Upper East Side.
“I had to drag her out of bed, give her breakfast and then I popped the SpongeBob in," said her grandmother, Regina Popper.
But Maalia said she is excited to see her friends — adding that one of her best friends is in her new class.
The city's nearly 1.1 million public school students were abuzz with nerves and excitement as they headed back to school for the 2016-2017 academic year Thursday morning.
Amanda Silverio, 16, and Elizabeth Vanderhorst, 18, both seniors at the High School of Fashion Industries on West 24th Street, ran to greet one another before classes started.
Vanderhorst said she wasn’t excited about the first day because of all the homework she'd have to do, but Amanda was looking forward to her new responsibilities: "I’m going to be on the 'welcome to school’ committee helping out the freshmen!” Amanda said.
Uptown, Michael Sorgen, 8, walked to his first day of third grade at P.S. 87 on the Upper West Side, accompanied by his mom and his grandmother.
Michael Sorgen, 8, with his grandmother Nancy Sorgen (right) and his mother (DNAinfo/Emily Frost)
"He's very excited," said his grandmother Nancy Sorgen. "I'm a teacher myself so I can relate. I can't believe he's in third grade," she said, while her grandson stood beside her, waiting to cross the street and join the herd of parents and kids in the school yard on West 77th Street.
Over in East Harlem, Tiffany Thompson's son Imaiyas Watson, 4, didn't share her enthusiasm for the first day of school.
Thompson had to spend most her time consoling him as other kids gleefully lined up for class at Mosaic Preparatory School in East Harlem.
Tiffany Thompson consoles her son Imaiyas Watson, 4 (DNAinfo/Dartunorro Clark)
“He’s never been in a large setting like this,” she explained.
While Watson and other children settled into their new classes Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña were touring schools across the five boroughs.
Their journey began at I.S. 392 in Brownsville at 7:45 a.m. De Blasio and Fariña then split ways to make separate stops at schools in Queens, Manhattan and The Bronx before meeting again at Port Richmond High School on Staten Island at 1:15 p.m.
Students are scheduled to spend only two days in the classroom before the first holiday on the Department of Education's calendar arrives Monday. Schools will be closed on Sept. 12 in observance of Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday marking the end of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
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Reporting contributed by: Shaye Weaver, Dartunorro Clark, Emily Frost, Maya Rajamani