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Gregory A. Summers and Jesef Williams
It was a day of meeting old friends, making new ones, finding classrooms and meeting teachers. The excitement, anticipation and even anxiety were evident.
Yes, it was the first day of the 2008-2009 school year in Lancaster County and everyone was trying to get acclimated.
‘Really good opening’ at A J Middle School
Andrew Jackson Middle School seventh-grader Falicia Curry had trouble getting her locker to open during a class change Thursday morning.
The difficulty just added more anxiety to a first day already filled with confusion about her class schedule.
Luckily, assistant principal Daryl Hinson was passing through to help her out.
“I forgot my combination,” Curry told Hinson, who then showed her the correct way to turn to lock.
Now she just had to get a grasp of her new schedule.
“It’s confusing because I don’t know where my
classes are,” Curry said.
Problems with locker combinations and class schedules are typical on a first day. However, gifted and talented teacher Susan Hagins said having the sixth-graders start a day earlier helped them become more comfortable among all the other students.
“That eased a lot of fear,” Hagins said. “They seem to be prepared. I think orientation helps them know what to expect.”
AJMS Principal Butch Dutton expects to have about 470 students this year. He said many of them arrived at school Thursday with the right attitude for a successful year.
“What I saw in the children were a lot of smiles, and that warms me up,” he said. “It’s been a really good opening.”
Buford High students have busy morning
Buford High School Principal Jonathan Phipps had his hands full Thursday morning.
Phipps stood outside the main entrance holding the front door open with his right hand and tightly gripped a maroon ball cap embroidered with a gold and black yellow jacket with his left hand.
Phipps stared at the gold fish hook pin attached to the bill of the school cap, which was taken from a student moments earlier.
“He just forgot,” Phipps said, of the school’s no-hat policy, which is part of the dress code there. “He’ll get it back after school.”
Inside the packed cafeteria, assistant principal Kevan Elliott was holding a hat, too. Above the constant chatter by some students who had not seen each other since the last day of school in May, you could hear a teacher occasionally reminding one of the boys to “pull your pants up.”
By 8:30 a.m., BHS student body president Katelyn Wrobel was on the intercom instructing the school’s 600-plus students to go to homeroom.
There, they found a stack of paperwork on each desk to fill out.
Meanwhile the office was jammed with students who weren’t sure just which homeroom they were in and others who had not been assigned a homeroom yet.
Working out all the bugs is part of the process on the first day, Phipps said.
“It does get busy,” Phipps said. “So far, so good. I think it’s going to be a good first day.”
rituals at IL Middle
Students at Indian Land Middle School were learning the ropes on Thursday. That included the middle school ritual of learning locker combinations.
Seventh-grader Taylor Treadway quickly mastered her combination lock.
“It’s going really good,” Treadway said of her first day. “We’ve been going over the rules, what it’s like to be in a seventh-grader’s shoes, stuff like that.”
Eighth-graders were doing the same thing. Angelique Amster and Kelly Capri were going over forms and regulations with their teacher. Amster was enthusiastic about her first day back to school.
“It’s been awesome,” she said, smiling. “It’s fun.”
Students in Laurie Ritter’s class were brushing up on math skills by playing a scavenger hunt game. Answers to problems and clues to the game were taped in places around the classrooms.
“Our addition, subtraction and multiplication are a little rusty today,” Ritter said. “But we’ll get it back.”
“Yes! I got it right,” exclaimed seventh-grader David Venditti, finding the correct answer to a math problem.
Principal David McDonald said he estimates the school population will be about 510 at final count, up from last year.
“There are probably 40 new kids, at least,” McDonald said. “It’s a sign of the times.”
Smooth first day at McDonald Green
Some students at McDonald Green Elementary School yawned off and on as they tried to adjust to being in class again.
Third-grader Sebastian Tarque said his teacher went over time tables on the first day, although he had a hard time remembering a few.
He later gave himself a slight slap on the face to wake up a little bit.
“I’ve been out of school for a while,” Tarque said, smiling.
But two of his classmates talked eagerly about beginning a new year.
Tayra Coleman looks forward to starting a schoolwide reading program that offers students incentives for the books they read.
Coleman said she was also happy to be among her peers again.
“I was ready to learn and especially see my new teacher and meet new friends,” Coleman said.
Principal Michelle Crosby said on Thursday that student enrollment at McDonald Green Elementary is about 480, which is normal. There were some students signing in that day.
Crosby said the first day went smoothly.
“Everybody’s teaming up for learning,” she said, referring to the school’s 2008 theme of teamwork. “I think we’re in for a treat this year.”
Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at 283-1151, reporter Jesef Williams at 283-1152 and features editor Gregory A. Summers