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Tri-State students report for first day of school

August 27, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

First-grader Hannah Himes, her red hair woven into two long braids, smiled as she walked out of Boonsboro Elementary School and into the arms of her mother on Monday.

"We missed you. My goodness you're a sight," Anne Himes told her daughter.

Himes was glad to be there for her daughter Monday. She said she missed Hannah's first day of kindergarten last year because her son Andrew was having a bone-marrow transplant.

Hannah hugged and kissed her 2-year-old brother.

"I forgot him because I was having too much fun," Hannah said.

Monday was the first day of school for most students in the Tri-State area.

Things went smoothly in Washington County as 18,353 students headed back to the books, school spokeswoman Carol Mowen said. Enrollment was nearly the same as last year, she said. The projected enrollment for this year, once all kindergartners have started, is 19,775, Mowen said.

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In Jefferson County, W.Va., the first day of classes was marked by a student disturbance at Charles Town High School and a plumbing problem at South Jefferson Elementary School, officials said.

At Charles Town Junior High School, a 12-year-old boy became involved in an altercation with another student, said Mike Aldridge, chief of the Charles Town Police Department.

The boy shoved a teacher and used foul language after the teacher tried to break up the disturbance, said Aldridge. The boy also shoved an assistant principal and used foul language with the administrator, Aldridge said.

The boy was removed from school and taken to the police department, Aldridge said.

He was turned over to his parents and a juvenile petition has been filed against him, Aldridge said.

Students were sent home from South Jefferson Elementary School at about 11:30 a.m. after a plumbing problem was discovered at the school, said Bev Hughes, associate superintendent of schools in Jefferson County.

The problem was fixed by the end of the day and students are expected to have a normal schedule today, said Hughes.

About 6,354 students came to school the first day, which was up slightly from the head count last year, said Hughes.

Boonsboro Elementary Principal Joanne Hilton said the first day, although hectic as usual, went well.

"Children make the school and it was great," she said.

Library Media Specialist Laura McDowell, who checked out more than 200 books on the first day, described it as "disturbingly smooth."

Shortly before school let out, Donnie Drawbaugh peered through windows on the front door at Boonsboro Elementary, looking for his older brother David, who just started first grade.

"At 8:15 he was ready to come back and get his big brother," said mother Julie Drawbaugh.

Donnie will start kindergarten at the school on Wednesday. Their classes have staggered starts to give teachers more time to get to know their young charges.

Boonsboro Middle School welcomed its new class of sixth-graders, who may have been a little apprehensive coming from four elementary schools, said Principal P. Lynn Miller.

"Everyone gets to meet each other and once that's out of the way people get more comfortable," he said. "It takes everybody in the school to make that first day happen."

Williamsport Elementary School reopened amidst a construction project that will take one more year, Mowen said.

Students and staff are able to use the new gym and cafeteria that was added to the building. Part of the school has been blocked off for renovations. When those classrooms are finished, classrooms will be shifted so contractors can start work on more rooms, she said.

"It's all worked out beautifully," she said.

The start of the school year also marked the introduction of Antietam Cable Channel 99, a new channel dedicated to school programming, she said.

Nearly 8,000 students in the Chambersburg Area School District returned to school Monday morning.

By mid-day, students and staff were hitting their stride, said Chris Henn, assistant principal of Chambersburg Area Senior High School.

"Things are going great," Henn said.

The weather also cooperated, cooler temperatures made it bearable in the high school, which is not totally air-conditioned.

"It's not too terribly warm. It's not as bad as it could be," she said.

Berkeley County (W.Va.) Schools officials could not be reached for comment.

Staff writers Dave McMillion and Stacey Danzuso contributed to this story.

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