fort lauderdale, fla

Today we’re going to update a story we first brought you back in 2004. That September, NPR set out to document what may be the most important day in any young child’s life — the first day of kindergarten. For parents it’s a day filled with hope, anxiety and one big question: Is our child ready?

The answer back then, as far as 5-year-old Sam Marsenison was concerned, was “No, no, no!”

For his parents, Paul and Maryanna Marsenison of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., it was tough letting go too. They had spent weeks, if not months, preparing themselves. But on that day, Sam made it very clear that he wanted no part of his new school, Virginia Shuman Young Elementary.

Sam lunged towards Maryanna and wrapped his little arms around her waist, tears rolling down both their faces.

In the background, the principal was on the PA system with a not-so-subtle warning: It was time for all kindergarten parents to leave. Immediately.

And now it was Maryanna, not Sam, who didn’t want to let go. For a while it seemed that even a tractor couldn’t pull her away.

Thirteen years later, Sam says he only has vague memories of the drama that unfolded on his first day of kindergarten.

How It All Turned Out: A Kindergarten Story, 13 Years Later

Photo: Zak Bennett for NPR