Bells and buzzers sang through school hallways to mark the start of class this morning. Students scrambled to find their way to classrooms, high-fived each other after the summer hiatus and nervously – or excitedly – settled down for the 2011-2012 school year.

Monday was Cabrillo Unified School District’s first day of school. La Honda-Pescadero Unified schools got to work last week as did Wilkinson School in El Granada. Half Moon Bay’s Sea Crest School will be in session starting Sept. 4.

Administrators have been gearing up for months.

“This is the day everyone waits for and works for all summer long,” said Tony Roehrick, Cabrillo’s new superintendent. “It’s a good feeling. Everything’s ready to go for the kids … So far, everything is coming off perfectly just as we planned.”

While many take it in stride, the first day of school tends to be emotional for students, and in some cases, parents.

One such group was Hatch Elementary School kindergarteners.

Parents cut the figurative cord and handed over their children to the care of their teachers. Several parents shed a few tears and exchanged notes over a “tea and tissues” event organized by the school.

“I think the parents cried more than the kids,” said Lara Ginsberg, a kindergarten teacher in Hatch’s bilingual program.

For those without children in local schools, Monday marked the beginning of the school-day traffic jam. Highway 1 was slow over the morning commute, particularly headed into Half Moon Bay from the north.

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