Steamboat Springs Luke Kamieniecki has decided what he likes about being in middle school lockers.
"That way people can't steal your stuff," said the sixth-grader at Steamboat Springs Middle School.
Kamieniecki and the rest of the students in the Steamboat Springs School District started school Monday.
There was plenty of excitement on all four campuses as students returned from the long summer break.
But just in case anyone got the wrong idea, students were quick to say the first day of school still doesn't hold a candle to the excitement of the last.
"Actually, the day after the last day of school is best," Kamieniecki said.
As seventh-graders stood in line at the door of the middle school cafeteria waiting for lunch, Kamieniecki and sixth-grade friend Clint Galorath munched quietly on their sandwiches and Oreos.
Galorath said the food is better in middle school than in elementary school. Although they both don't know all their teachers, the first day is about getting to have fun, the boys said.
While sixth-graders may not be feeling academic pressures yet, high school teachers don't waste time introducing freshmen to the rigors of schoolwork.
"I've got homework in every class already," said Hunter Levingston, a ninth-grader at Steamboat Springs High.
Ninth-grader Rory Kriz said he's happy with his teachers, but the group of boys sitting with him at the picnic table in front of the high school said they felt a little overwhelmed by the four years ahead of them.
At least, they said, they're not in middle school anymore.
"It's better than middle school. We're liked by most of the upperclassmen," Levingston said.
Third-graders Katie Lettunich and Jessica Mader said they were most looking forward to having a new teacher, but they also were a little anxious.
"You don't have to do the same thing as the year before," Mader said. But "you get nervous when you go to a different classroom with different people."
Lettunich was nervous, too, adding that the second grade went by really fast.
The two classmates are happy to have the same teacher and like the fact their schedules are a bit different this year.
First-graders Anna Robinson and Katie Spencer said they really like their new teacher, Ms. McGuinn.
Spencer said she felt as if she was treated like a baby in kindergarten.
"Yeah, like we were just born yesterday," Robinson added.
Robinson said the best thing about the first day of school was that she didn't have any homework.
"The next day you get homework," Robinson said, "and it keeps getting harder and harder every year you move up."
First-grader Jacob Madsen, who arrived at the lunch table at Strawberry Park Elementary a little late, said he had sized up the pros and cons of the first grade.
He said the best part is that there are three recesses.
"We get one at the end of the day, one in the middle of the day and one at the beginning of the day," he said.