STAMFORD, Conn. -- For Amrutamayee Patra, a kindergarten student at an extension of Rogers International School in Stamford, school means new friends and one other vital element of a young student's experience.
"I like playing.I like slides the best," she said, adding that she likes books, as her proud - and equally excited - mother Mausumi Patra looked on.
"She was telling everyone that 'I am going to kindergarten this year,' and she is so excited," she said.
City and school board officials along with members of the school community celebrated its opening on the first day of school Thursday at its 200 Strawberry Hill Ave. location. The school is starting with kindergarten and first grade students and will add grades in successive years.
For the school's principal Frank Rodriguez, who moved over from K.T. Murphy School, it's an exciting time.
"I'm ecstatic. There was mixed emotions leaving K.T. Murphy, it made me who I am today but this is great," he said before the ribbon cutting of the new building. "I love this school, so much energy, super staff, great parents, great energy and just loving it, just loving the opportunities that lie ahead."
The building is at the former Sacred Heart Academy, an all-girls school that closed its doors in 2006. The 10.8-acre site was purchased by the city for $9.75 million in 2014.
Rodriguez emphasized that the school is an extension of the Rogers Magnet School and will closely partner with Rogers throughout the school year.
School Superintendent Earl Kim joined in the excitement and welcomed the first day of class.
"It's wonderful to have the kids back. They are the lifeblood of our schools and it's almost been drought this summer without them here. It's great to have the kids back, the staff back. It's just great all the way around."
Before the ribbon cutting, Mayor David Martin said it was gratifying to see students once again in the building that had been empty since 2006.
"Boy what a joy it is to walk through these halls to see the kindergartners and first-grade students," he said.
He thanked everyone involved in buying the property, getting state funding and renovating the building — a process that took two years.
State Sen. Carlo Leone, D-27th District, thanked everyone for their work, including his Republican co-chair on the Bonding Committee, state Rep. Livvy Floren, R-149th District. The Greenwich representative's district also incorporates a part of North Stamford.
"Today is a day about what is important for our little kids," Leone said.
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