08/21/08 — Students make visits to classrooms as open houses begin

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Students make visits to classrooms as open houses begin

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 21, 2008 1:37 PM

Jennifer Mooring is "excited and nervous all at the same time" about the start of a new school year.

A teacher assistant at Rosewood Middle School for five years, this will be her first as a full-fledged teacher.

She went into teaching, she said, because she loves kids and wanted to make a difference.

And now, what she most looks forward to is "being in control of everything, not just a few things, having all that responsibility on you."

The seventh-grade language arts teacher is teamed with Dawna Thompson and Kristi Proffitt, a math teacher returning to the school after teaching at Grantham for the past two years.

"It's wonderful. I cannot wait to get started," Miss Proffitt said. "I have already been out here two weeks. I'm ready to teach some math."

The teachers were at the school Wednesday to welcome students and parents, as part of the district-wide open house.

Hallways of middle and high schools were jammed with new and returning students seeking out classroom assignments and picking up supply lists.

Kelly Pelt has a child at each of the Rosewood schools -- elementary, middle and high. The oldest will be a senior, so he went to the high school open house by himself.

She was accompanied by Daniel, who will be a seventh-grader at the middle school, and Royce, a third-grader whose open house will be later today.

"I'm kind of excited, but I'm not," Daniel said, although he admitted he was looking forward to reuniting with his friends.

"I'm really excited," his brother said.

"I'm ready for school to be open," Ms. Pelt said. "With three boys at home, plus extra friends in the summer time, that means lots of food. I'm ready to see that kind of come down some.

"Now I'm just trying to get them back in the flow, going to bed early."

Dina Uzzell, a seventh-grade language arts and social studies teacher has only taught at the middle school. This will be her 14th year of teaching.

"We have got small numbers this year," she said. "I'm looking forward to teaching and getting to know my students, looking forward to a great year."

Pam Radford, there with seventh grade daughter Nicole and younger daughter, Lauren, a third-grader, said she was having a harder time of it than her daughters.

"I don't like the schedule, the going to bed early, the homework. I like them to be able to have free time" and has enjoyed having them at home this summer, she said.

Nicole, meanwhile, admitted to being a "little excited" about school, where her favorite subject is math. Lauren wasn't an enthusiastic, although she said she was ready to meet her teacher and see her friends.

Rosewood High School also filled quickly with a steady stream of parents and students.

Kathy Best, a business teacher and the current Teacher of the Year for the county, said it was going to be a "great year," with lots of new staff members and a variety of clubs recruiting for members.

Freshman Amanda Howell was manning the FBLA booth for mom Amy Howell, a business teacher at the school.

Mrs. Howell was especially excited, having been a "teacher on a cart" for the last two years. She'll now have a classroom of her own.

For student Gary Nance, it's about sports.

"I'm looking forward to playing football," said the defensive lineman.

A senior this year, he admitted, "I can't wait to get it over."

Kelly Best, a sophomore, said she returns this year feeling a "little bit more comfortable."

"There's going to be people I will miss, but I'm going to meet new people," she said.

Senior Shantal Johnson was at open house to meet her new teachers and "figure out what I have."

She enjoys math and plans to go on to East Carolina University to become a nurse.

For now, she said, "I'm just happy because it's my last year. I'm kind of ready for it and then kind of not."

At Spring Creek High School, parking lots were overflowing even as the two-hour event wrapped up.

"We have got a really big turnout ... a lot of parents, which is important," principal Stephen Clingan said. "It's not just kids, that's our business, but we've got a lot of parents accompanying their children, which shows a lot of parental involvement and support. That is very pleasing."

There was also a lot of interaction, a "family atmosphere," the principal noted.

"There's a lot of people greeting each other, asking how they have been and kind of looking forward to getting back into the swing of it," he said.

Sabrina Paphitas was there to staff the "Gator-Aide" parent/teacher/student association booth, signing up support for the coming year.

"We help with health room supplies and media center, and last year we raised funds for a new sign in front of the school," she said. "Anything the school needs, that is what we try to provide."

Kim Thorpe, there with daughter Asia Brown, an eighth-grader, also has two other children at the school.

"I am looking forward to (the new school year)," Ms. Thorpe said. "I think it will be a good year."