Ah, the First Day of School...

By Kate C. RSS Tue, September 3, 2019

Today is a big day, Philly! It marks the first day of school for the School District of Philadelphia, as the 2019-2020 school year is now officially underway!

To celebrate, a few of our trusty Free Library staff members are sharing their favorite back-to-school memories and adorable photos! You can find more photos over on our Instagram page, and don't be shy, we'd love to see yours, too! The more awkward, the better, of course!

"I've never forgotten that when my older sister started first grade, she was lucky enough to read, which was not the case with me. But the talent backfired on her the very first day: she wanted to walk into the school all by herself but ended up in tears at the front door because a sign on it read KEEP DOORS CLOSED AT ALL TIMES."Derick D., The Rosenbach


"I LOVED preparing for the first day of school! I would get the Grammimals outfits, where you would match the tags to coordinate the blouse with the skirt or pants. We did not switch classes, but stayed in one room all day in grades 6-8. I absolutely loved the smell of newly-polished wooden floors that would greet me as I walked into the Dr. William H. Horton School in Newark, N.J. My teachers wore very formal clothing—the men would wear suits and ties and the female teachers wore formal clothing. After school we would head to the penny candy store, where this elderly couple had lines of large jars with penny candy in them."Juanita V., Art & Literature Department

"The summer of 1996 was the summer after my freshman year of high school, and it was rough. Little did I know that my sophomore year English class would change all that when my teacher, Dr. Gilligan, would assign us The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Fortunately things got a lot better after I discovered my love of reading!"Mary W., Parkway Central Children's Department








“I remember insisting that I needed—and I mean NEEDED—an L.L. Bean canvas totebag with red straps in lieu of a backpack one year. How my grade-school brain even knew such a thing existed is beyond me, and another matter entirely. Imagine my shock when I arrived at school and all the other kids were zipping around with their neon-colored Jansports and I was lugging my giant tote, loaded down with school books, around the halls. Once a nerd, always a nerd?”Alix G., Communications



"I have no particular memory tied to my first day of kindergarten, but years later I still remember those saddle shoes!!"Caitlin S., Business Resource & Innovation Center (BRIC)








"My favorite part of back to school was always the mid-August trip to get school supplies! If I didn’t know when I was 10 that I loved to organize, my mother certainly did. I loved walking through the aisles of new folders and notebooks, selecting the perfect color combinations so I’d always know what things to grab from my locker (science was always black...probably the reason I never became a scientist). Though I loved color-coordinating, I think the thing I loved most was the possibilities of an empty notebook and dreaming of the interesting things that might fill those pages. That feeling never gets old."Christine M., Communications

What's YOUR favorite back to school memory? Let us know in the comments! Have a great year, Philadelphia!

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