ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Summer sure went by in a hurry. On Thursday, Rockford Public School students returned to class as the 2023-24 school year kicked off.

Eyewitness News road the bus with some students and got their reaction to the start of a new year.

“I’m really happy, I’m actually wanting to meet my teacher,” said incoming second-grader Noel. “I hope she is very nice to me, or not mean to me,” he added.

When asked about his favorite part of school, Noel gushed about his friends and family. “My favorite thing about school is seeing my dad, when he comes to see me and when he picks me up, and seeing my friends, because it’s been one year.”

Fellow student Hayden was also eager to get back to class for his buddies. “I miss my friends, so I’m feeling happy,” he said.

“I’m a little nervous because I haven’t seen that many people in a long time. I’ve only seen my friends on Minecraft,” said Hayden, referring to the popular video game.

He also shared share what he’ll be having for lunch. “I got goldfish, a sandwich — I have no idea which sandwich — I have water bottle up here and juice down here.”

Hayden didn’t mind that his sandwich was a surprise, “hopefully it’s not something like fish, even though I eat it.”

The school district admitted that it is having problems finding enough bus drivers this year, and had to stagger the start times between elementary, middle and high schools this year in response.