08/23/06 — Students, parents 'meet the teachers'

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Students, parents 'meet the teachers'

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 23, 2006 1:50 PM

Back to school open house. For some it is a social event, for others a mission to locate classes, meet teachers and obtain supply lists.

But Tuesday night at area middle and high schools, it was the place to be.

At Norwayne Middle School, parents and students began arriving at 4 p.m., one hour before open house was scheduled to begin.

Principal Mario Re said at a staff meeting the day before, everyone was excited about the coming school year.

"We're calling it a new beginning," he said. "It's my first full year as principal. We had some retirees and have some new staff.

"It's just really refreshing. Everybody's loving Norwayne."

Expecting 986 students when school opens on Friday, Re said there was one significant change at the school this year.

"We switched the sixth- and eighth-grade buildings," he said, explaining that one building opens to the outside while the other has a hallway. "Eighth-grade students are so much bigger, so we did it for safety reasons. Class transitions will be easier as the hallway is smaller in the building that will now be for sixth-graders."

LaShada Williams, an eighth-grader, said the building change would not be a problem.

She was at open house with her mother, Attilah Dunn.

"She's been so excited. This is her last year here, then she'll be going to high school," Ms. Dunn said.

LaShada said she was there to meet her teachers and was ready to start the school year.

"I'm looking forward to meeting some goals I have," she said.

Sha Craft was helping her son, Daniel, search for one of his classes. The new-to-Norwayne eighth-grader said his favorite subject is math but admitted he was not overly excited about the return to school.

His mother, however, said, "I'm ready for it."

Meanwhile, at Rosewood High School, teachers readied their classrooms for visitors.

Cathy Best, a business education teacher at the school since 1989, said she enjoys open house night.

"It's always great. You get to see all the kids and the parents. It's a regular social event. It's just a nice kick-off, a nice way to start the year," she said.

It's Amy Howell's first year teaching at Rosewood, having been at Greenwood Middle for the last eight years. The business teacher said she was looking forward to meeting her new students and their parents.

Jillian Casey and Lauren Turner, both juniors at Rosewood, said they were there for the "back to school bash" sponsored by the school's FFA. Club members and new freshmen were invited to enjoy a hot-dog supper during the open house festivities, they said.

"It's kind of exciting because you get to see all the people you haven't seen all summer," Jillian said.

Student Daryn Forehand signed the attendance register in Marsha Green's English class. He said he was there "just seeing how everybody's doing before school starts."

The senior joked that he comes to open house "to meet the teachers before school starts so I know how far I can push them."

The evening was a family affair for Sarah Conger, a freshman, who had her siblings and parents in tow.

"Scary" was how she described the evening, while older sister Kaitlyn, a sophomore at the school, agreed to help her younger sister find her way around.

"No problem," dad Richard reassured.

Mom Pat said some of the first-day jitters were already behind them as their other two children -- Christine, a fifth-grader, and Jessica, a second-grader -- started school at St. Mary's last week.

But, she said, "Ask me in another week. Once they're (all) in school, it'll probably settle down."

Student David Templeton is a junior at Rosewood, so open house is no longer a novelty.

"I'm just here to get supply lists and meet the teachers," he said.

Father Dave Templeton said he was there mostly to support his son and introduce himself to teachers at the school.

Deputy Larry Mitchell has worked at the school for six years as school resource officer.

He said he enjoys what he does and, living in the nearby community, he said he has gotten to know the families of students he serves. For him, open house was a reunion of sorts.

"I come out to meet the kids I haven't seen all summer," he said.

Another round of open house events are planned for this evening in the elementary schools from 5-7 p.m. Charles B. Aycock High School is also hosting a separate freshman open house this evening from 7-8 p.m.