08/23/11 — Students get first look at schools

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Students get first look at schools

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 23, 2011 1:46 PM

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Omar Martinez, an incoming seventh-grader at Rosewood Middle School, goes over his schedule with language arts teacher Dina Uzzell during open house Monday.

At 12:45 p.m. Monday, Assistant Principal Sheri Hobbs' voice came over the Eastern Wayne High School intercom, offering last-minute reminders before freshman orientation.

Staff, she began, needed to be in the new gym by one o'clock.

"Everyone else needs to be in your classroom waiting for new students," she said.

A steady stream of parents and students filtered into the gym lobby, while an occasional stray stopped by the office to ask questions -- just a few of the hundreds of Wayne County families who made their way to middle and high schools Monday to get their first look at what to expect from the first day of school.

Open house events typically produce an air of excitement, even among the administration, said Principal Gene Byrd.

"Oh, we are, we always are," he said with a smile as he conferred with his staff before heading over to greet the first group of students. Officials estimated 425 freshmen and new students were expected to be starting at the school this year.

Marquia Ward said she was "nervous and excited" about being a ninth-grader.

"I'm looking forward to learning and making new friends," she said.

"I'm hoping that she'll have a good year this year and learn a lot, make good friends, have some good teachers," her mother, Satora Green, said.

Mandy Moye, accompanied by her grandmother, Annie Garris, stopped by the main office first to seek directions.

The senior is a transfer from the Wayne School of Engineering.

"I'm kind of nervous, but I'm kind of excited to be in a new environment, too," she said. "I know a few (students) but they're not seniors."

Monday marked the official start of open house events around the county, with the majority of middle and high schools playing host to families. Today from 5 to 7 p.m. open houses are planned at elementary schools.

Wayne Early/Middle College High School and Wayne School of Engineering resumed classes earlier in the month, while Dillard Middle and Goldsboro High schools start classes today. The remainder of schools in the district start Thursday.

At Spring Creek middle and high schools, Gene Peacock arrived early with daughters Emma, a seventh-grader, and 4-year-old Sadie, who seemed just as thrilled about her own fall plans.

"I'll be at my grandma's," Sadie said gleefully.

"We're just out here for open house to figure out who (Emma's) teachers are, bringing some dinner to her mom," said Peacock, whose wife, Deanna, is the art teacher at the school.

They had already visited his daughter's teachers from last year and were about to navigate the school to locate her new classes.

"I'm looking forward to finding out who's in my class," Emma said.

Belinda Crouch was with daughter, Samantha, also a seventh-grader. It was a little "weird" being there, Ms. Couch said.

"I came to this school, too," she said. "But it was K-9 when I came."

Seventh-grader Alyssa Stafford went from classroom to classroom, meeting her new teachers and finding out a bit more about the requirements for the upcoming school year.

Her favorite subject is science, she said, and she just learned over the summer that she made the cheerleading squad and had already started practicing.

With her was Rose Grant, a neighbor.

"She's like a daughter," Mrs. Grant said, proudly, as they headed off to meet more school staff.

At the front entrance was a table manned by FFA club members, offering directions and answering questions.

"I'm basically helping people find the classrooms and then I'm going to show them what FFA is and what we do," said Chris Hill, a 10th-grader. "It's like a positive organization. Like, there are a lot of bad influences in the world. (FFA) helps you not just with your career but with your life."

He aspires to go into the Marines after high school, he said. But for now, he is looking forward to seeing all his friends and hanging out again, he said.

Sophomore Bria Cromartie also had no trouble admitting she was glad to be returning to school, saying it was "refreshing" to be back in the familiar hallways.

"I was bored this whole summer," she said.

She hadn't seen her schedule yet but already knows what she is most ready for -- weightlifting and basketball. She also participates in volleyball and was anxious to find out what to do in anticipation of the team's first scrimmage this week.

Students weren't the only ones caught up in the anticipation of another school year.

"It's very exciting. I feel renewed and ready to meet the new students," said Amy Eberling, in her third year teaching juniors and seniors biology. "It's a great school, (I) couldn't be happier."

Family consumer science teacher Nadia Minniti has been at the school for six years. Open house, she said, is a great way to kick off a new term.

"This is probably the only time we get to meet some of the parents, so it's a very exciting time," she said. "We like to keep the lines of communication open with the parents. It's important to meet them, put a name with the face."