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W.Va. freshman get first taste of high school

August 27, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - One of the toughest transitions for an adolescent can be starting high school.

On Tuesday the 360 freshman that make up the Class of 2001 were greeted at Martinsburg High School with a half-day orientation, a barbecue lunch and a pep rally.

"Huge school. Lots of stairs," said Jennifer Lowery, a transfer student from Shepherdstown.

"Everybody's really nice and I like my teachers. I have a feeling I'm really going to like this school," the freshman said.

"Scary. Interesting," commented Jessica Griffin of Martinsburg. The best thing about returning to school for her was seeing her friends and boys. She also said the teachers seem friendly.

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"It's harder to get to class than I thought it would be ... It's a big school," said Lucas Silver, who last year attended North Middle School.

"I got lost. I was embarrassed," Brandy Rotruck, a junior varsity cheerleader, recalled her first day in high school a year before. The cheerleaders were on hand with members of the student council to help ease the transition.

Rotruck said the best thing about coming back to school is "to see the changes in people" from over the summer. Besides cheerleading, she also plays softball at the school and through the summer.

"It's kind of a tie between knowing I'll be learning and seeing all my friends that I missed over the summer," said J.D. Slough, another sophomore and a member of the student council. He said the orientation, which the council mostly runs, helped him last year.

Today will be a different matter for the freshmen as another 1,000 upperclassmen crowd the halls of the school.

Not all of those attending orientation were freshmen. Rodrigo Carrasco of Chile and Pavel Yakovlev of Russia are both 17 and two of four foreign exchange students attending Martinsburg High.

"I want to enter college in the United States," said Pavel, whose home town of Achinsk is in Siberia. He wants to study business or economics.

"We're a little country, but Martinsburg is very similar to the south of Chile" in its climate, Carrasco noted.

"This is a very, very good group. I could tell that when they came into the auditorium. Very orderly," said Roy Young, the security officer for the high school.

At the pep rally in the gym, the cheerleaders attempted to build some school solidarity, teaching the freshmen a few cheers and the school song.

Principal Richard Deuell said the General Motors service center in Martinsburg sponsored the cookout for the freshmen. The company does the same for seniors in the spring.

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