Back to the classroom

August 15, 1997


Staff Writer

Melissa Hughes was more excited about the first day of school today than her two young daughters.

"She just wants us out of the house ... so she can party," said 8-year-old Ashley on her way to her first day of third grade in Nancy Weirich's class at Bester Elementary School.

Ashley is one of 20,224 students starting prekindergarten through 12th grade today in Washington County Public Schools, according to school board officials.

Ashley will get to eat one of 10,000 rectangular cheese pizzas being served in schools today to welcome back students since it is their favorite lunch, said Don Trumble, director of food and nutrition services.


Her 4-year-old sister Katlyn will eat lunch with mom today before heading off to her first day of kindergarten this afternoon.

Neither of the girls was terribly excited about starting school.

Ashley said she'd rather have gone swimming than shopping this summer for her new school dress with a white top and floral skirt.

She also got a new black Looney Tunes book bag full of 13 notebooks and some sharpened pencils - no pens or mechanical pencils are allowed, Ashley said.

Katlyn was still timid this morning about starting kindergarten so she got a warmup walking her big sister to Bester from their Salem Avenue home.

As Ashley passed Locust Point, she said hello to crossing guard Shirley Moore in her black and white uniform with an orange and yellow reflecting vest.

Moore, 59, got plenty of hugs from passing students.

Moore's crossing guard partner at Locust Point, Marion Reno, said they take hugs where they can get them, preferably on the sidewalk where it's safer.

"I'm glad to be back. We love the kids. The kids keep us young," said Reno, 59.

Joey Mason, 13, and Quentin Robinson, 12, watched the crossing guards as they sat on a nearby curb waiting for their bus to the Alternative School.

While they weren't too thrilled about the thought of starting school or eating pizza for lunch, the boys were excited about seeing friends.

Mason and Robinson's bus made it to school without any major problems as did most of the buses, said Chris Carter, director of transportation.

Only one bus experienced a problem, overheating on the way to Boonsboro middle and high schools, Carter said. A spare bus was sent out to pick up students on bus 365 to get them to school on time, he said.

Boonsboro High School's new $1 million science labs for physics, chemistry, biology and earth science will open today, said Dennis McGee, director of facilities management.

McGee said renovations at Lincolnshire and Smithsburg elementaries are about halfway done.

About eight classroom areas are being added to Lincolnshire where work is expected to be done in March, McGee said.

A gym and at least nine classrooms are anticipated to be finished at Smithsburg Elementary around Christmas, he said.

Workers also will be installing air conditioning and upgrading electrical wiring at the two 43-year-old schools, he said.

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