NO wonder there was no first-day blues among the Year One pupils at SK Sungai Gelugor in Penang.
Iron Man was there at the gates to greet them as the new school term opened yesterday.
A costume-player dressed up as the iconic Marvel Comics character left kids wide-eyed with surprise as he waved hello, gave them high-fives and posed for pictures with them.
Haziq Danial Shahrul Azlan, seven, said he was amazed to see his superhero.
“Rasa seronok sangat nampak Iron Man. Semangat nak masuk sekolah (Felt so great to see Iron Man. Makes me eager to go to school).
“I got to take pictures with him and I even high-fived with him,” he added.
SK Sungai Gelugor headmistress Fairus Ayob said she mooted the idea during the school holidays.
“This is the first time we decided to bring in a superhero character to attract the interest and enthusiasm of the pupils after their five-week holiday.
“We wanted something different for them as a start to the new school year,” she said.
Fairus said the costume-player was hired from a private company primarily to lessen the jitters of Year One pupils.
“But, all the kids were delighted by the superhero’s presence.
“The superhero character was in school for an hour from 7am to 8am.
Fairus said there were 1,014 pupils at the school this year, including preschoolers aged five and six.
“For Year One alone, we have 177 pupils,” she added.
State Education Department director Shaari Osman was also present to observe the pupils’ first day at school.
He said a total of 20,594 Year One pupils enrolled in 271 schools in the state this year.
Over at SJK (C) Shang Wu in Air Itam, seven-year-old Danish Lee Boon Sheng was all smiles during recess time.
His mother, full-time housewife Sri Mardini Mohammad Ali, 43, said she hoped that her son would pick up Mandarin by the second-half of the year.
“We did not send him to a Chinese kindergarten before this, so it’s better for him to mix around with other Chinese peers to pick up the language quickly,” she said.
Sri Mardini said her daughter, Nur Hooisan Lee, nine, was also earlier enrolled at SJK (C) Shang Wu.
“She is now starting Year Three and looks forward to becoming a teacher some day.
“We speak Malay at home, but I do encourage them to speak in Mandarin with their father,” Mardini said.
Single mother K. Vimala, 37, was also another proud mother as her eldest son N. Naresh Kuumar started Year One at the same school.
“I am excited and nervous at the same time.
“I hope he will study hard,” she said, adding that Naresh Kuumar started learning Mandarin when he was five.
SJK (C) Shang Wu school headmaster Yeoh Soon Kheng said there were 1,091 pupils comprising Year One to Year Six pupils at the school this year.
Meanwhile, at SJK (C) Kwang Hwa in Sungai Nibong, headmistress Tan Peng Sim said 305 Year One pupils were enrolled at the school this year.