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Hancock school welcomes Allegany students

August 30, 2000

Hancock school welcomes Allegany students



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

Hancock welcomes Allegany studentsIn the halls of the tight-knit Hancock Middle-Senior High School, teachers and students have welcomed 47 students who are crossing county lines to attend classes.

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Staff and students at Hancock Middle-Senior High School have embraced the out-of-county students as their own, according to Principal Robert Myers.

He said the school community, which is used to an enrollment of about 300, was happy to bring the students aboard.

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The 47 new students, from the Little Orleans area of Allegany County, in August were given the choice of attending Hancock or Fort Hill High School in Cumberland, Md.

They were offered the choice because the Allegany County School Board decided to close Flintstone School, the students' old school, as part of its consolidation efforts.

The students chose to attend Hancock, which is closer to Little Orleans than is Cumberland.

Within days, the sixth- through 12th-grade students were a part of the Hancock community, Myers said.

"They're Hancock kids who happen to live in Orleans," Myers said. "These are our kids and we want to make sure they're successful."

After the third day of school, Myers said the transition was going smoothly.

"It could not be any better," he said. "The kids have been cooperative, the community has been cooperative and the teachers have been cooperative. Now that we're increasing our size by a quarter, there hasn't been one complaint. And we're doing this with no additional staff."

With the Allegany students and an increase of local students, Hancock's school enrollment is at 391 this school year.

Some Allegany County students said they were happy with their decision to attend Hancock.

"It's going good," Ashley Norris, 17, said. "It's closer and it's more like Flintstone."

Norris is a senior who car pools to school with her friends. She said the trip takes about 15 minutes by car and about 40 minutes by school bus. If they were bused to Cumberland, the ride would be more than an hour long.

Senior Elizabeth Hill, 17, said that by attending Hancock, she gets to sleep a half hour later than she could when she attended Flintstone.

Students riding the bus arrive at school at about 8:20 a.m. and leave at 3:30 p.m., Myers said. School started at 8 a.m. at Flintstone.

Myers and other staff members said the new students are fitting in at Hancock, and several have already joined school activities. He said five have joined the football team, four have joined girls' volleyball and four have joined the cheerleading squad.

Norris, who plays volleyball, said she already knew some Hancock students from playing against each other, which helped ease the transition for her.

"If I wouldn't have played volleyball, I would've been scared coming here," Norris said.

Mac Dawson, a guidance counselor, said he doesn't doubt the new students will do well at Hancock. He said they came to Hancock with a positive outlook, despite losing their home school.

"They're coming from a hard situation," Dawson said. "The seniors lost their high school. But they caught on quickly here. They just picked it up and ran with it."

Dawson said the students have entered a school committed to academic excellence. Hancock has been named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

"That's the advantage of a small school," he said. "The larger schools just can't do it the way we do it. With the attitude the teachers and administrators take in this building, we do everything in our power to make it happen."

Assistant Principal Larry Smith agreed.

"We're working to give every kid that comes through the door the best education that we can," he said. "That's our mission."

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