New Beginnings: The First Day of School

Posted by Sean Conroe on August 25, 2020

New Beginnings: The First Day Of School

The 2020 school year is kicking off across the country, and this year is unlike any in the past that we’ve experienced. From homeschooling to online classes, to in-person instruction or a mix thereof, these new beginnings are looking and feeling way different for all of us.

With a number of parents in our company, conversations about what this school year looks like happen daily across Slack and Zoom. In discussing all things education and how everyone is adapting, we began to reflect on some of our own experiences on our first days of insruction, sharing stories and reminiscing on how different things were between then and now.

So how different were they? What were our favorite memories? Read on to hear from a number of b8ta’s own as they reflect on their first day of school and share insight into some unique modern day products that we wish we had back in the day.

Name: William M.

Position: Co-Founder/COO and Super Genius

First Day Of: Pre-Kindergarten, circa 1974

“I loved that Mustang..

If I could have had a cool product from b8ta it would have been the Astro Reality Solar System Mini Set.”

Name: Sean C.

Position: GM, b8ta Seattle

Class Photo: Kindergarten, circa 1988

“I recall vividly my first day of school — and being apart from my mom. I bawled my eyes out, so much so, that the school had to call my mom’s work to have her come pick me up. We went and got Teddy (a teddy bear) that day to calm me down. If I remember, I went back the next day ready to conquer the classroom all by myself!

It would have been great to have an Axol and Friends plush — perhaps that would have prevented my mom from missing a day of work!”

Name: Ross K.

Position: Director of Retail Operations

First Day Of: Kindergarten, circa 1993

“If I could have had a cool product from b8ta it would have been the Jamstik 7 Guitar Trainer.”

Name: Jackie O.

Position: b8ta tester

First Day Of: Kindergarten, circa 2000

“My mom was crying while dropping me off, but I was so excited to go to school and more excited that I got to have a really cool Pokemon lunch box.

I was a very shy kid growing up but always had big ideas and had a big imagination. If I could have had a cool product from b8ta it would have been the I Am a Rebel Girl journal to draw my ideas and to show my passion as well to remind myself I could be anyone I wanted to be.”

Name: Jen H.

Position: General Manager at b8ta MOA

First day of: Kindergarten, circa 1987

“My She-Ra Princess of Power backpack was seriously the coolest item that I’ve ever owned. Every time I see this photo it reminds me of how much fun my mom and I would have going back-to-school shopping each August. It also reminds me that at-home haircuts are rarely a good idea.

I’ve always had a love of reading, and growing up, I wish I would’ve had the Rebel Girl books. Learning about inspiring women throughout history is important, and ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls‘ would’ve been the perfect way to do that! I own these books now, and it’s been empowering to be able to read them with my rebel girls.”

Name: Kimberly H.

Position: Merchandise Manager at b8ta Houston

Class Photo: 1st grade, circa 1987

“I used to play records on my Big Bird record player all the time. I always drove my mom crazy by playing whatever song I loved at the time over and over (I still do). My favorite song ever? Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Could you imagine what would happen if I had a Devialet Phantom Gold to drive her crazy?!”

Name: Nick R.

Position: GM, Forum by b8ta

Class Photo: 3rd grade, circa 1981

“I got busted that year by the principal himself who caught me spreading a joke around the playground — he literally walked up behind me as I was telling it to my friend. 

I got sent to the office and had to wait in the principal's office with him glaring at me until my parents could come bail me out. I had NEVER been in trouble at school and was picturing my parents disowning me because of my bad behavior. I wish I had had the CALM Essential Spray in that moment because  I was freaking out also because of the gross smell of Brut aftershave the principal wore. The smell of that aftershave STILL gives me the chills to this day!”

Name: Charlene Q.

Position: Partner Success Manager

First Day Of: Pre-K, circa 1992

“Even though we didn’t have computers at that time (but soon would), I wish I had the Qwerkywriter — even if it were just for the cool noise the keys make while typing.”

Name: Domingo G.

Position: General Manager, b8ta Austin

First Day Of: Pre-K, circa 1982

“I hated it and refused to let go of mom when I was getting dropped off for a while. I ended up making friends with Gary the boy in the striped shirt. I was a shy kid but grew to be outgoing over time. When I would go to work with my dad he would force me to shake hands, say hi and introduce myself to his coworkers.This eventually led to me building comfort around strangers and leaving my shell behind.”

Now Domingo is the face of b8ta live on Instagram and Facebook - you can watch a number of different episodes and learn more about all of his favorite products on b8ta’s YouTube channel.

Name: Maya E.

Position: General Manager, b8ta San Francisco

Class Photo: 8th grade

“I went to private school, and 8th grade was “Senior Year”. That meant we got to wear “free dress” on the first day back to school. The younger grades were in their uniforms. I had looked forward to it being my turn, for years. I was ready for the “first day fashion show”.

If I could have had one product during then, it would have been the Neo SmartPen. Mrs. Gayton, my teacher,  was always so pleased with my color highlighted notes. Imagine if I could translate them into type  with just a touch!  

My (close) second product choice is the Barisieur.  Music class started at 7:30 A.M., three times a week. How did I ever arrive on-time without a coffee maker/alarm clock? I sure don’t know.”


If you’re near one of our stores, we invite you to make a field trip and visit us with your kids, exploring some of the very same products our team has recommended in person.

From all of us, good luck with the 2020 school year.

Joining us in-store? Learn about our health precautions. You can also learn more about how we arrived at our decisions to protect everyone’s health by visiting Want to book an in-store (or virtual) appointment? Do that here.