School bells will soon beckon

Some Tri-State area students not ready to face books, dress codes

Some Tri-State area students not ready to face books, dress codes

August 01, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

Newspaper circulars are advertising back-to-school bargains on a variety of supplies - spiral notebooks, loose-leaf binders, folders, pens, pencils, school glue and crayons.

The facts for summer-loving students are chilling: School is coming - a little more than three weeks away.

Some Tri-State area students know the first day of school is fast approaching, but, despite the commercial hoopla, they aren't ready to think about it.

Adam Cornelius, 17, says he's trying not to think about starting his senior year at North Hagerstown High School. He's facing a schedule with six AP (Advanced Placement) classes.


He'll wait to see what individual teachers require for classes before he loads up with supplies.

The Washington County Board of Education's recent approval of a systemwide dress code won't greatly affect what he wears to school.

He did experience a no-dress-code-environment, though, when he was an exchange student in Wesel, Germany, last summer. It was more relaxed, better for students, he says. "It was a good experience."

His school's policy of not being able to carry a backpack to classes is inconvenient, he says, because there's not always time to get through the crowded halls to your locker and to the next class.

Adam's sister, Amy Cornelius, 14, will be starting her sophomore year at North High.

Finding shorts that meet dress code requirements is not easy, she says. Buying a larger size and pulling them down to the specified length is not an option, she points out, because underwear might show at the waistline.

Amy, vice president of the sophomore class, is not thrilled about guidelines for shirts, which must cover the entire back and shoulders, according to the code. She thinks a sleeveless shirt - with straps two or three fingers wide at the shoulder - is OK, as long as undergarments aren't showing.

Amy's mother, Susan Cornelius, a kindergarten teacher at Greenbrier Elementary School, agrees with most of the new dress code. She thinks that sleeveless shirts are OK - as long as shoulder straps are wide enough and "tasteful."

Connie Lenhart, a science teacher at North Hagerstown High School, is happy about the recently approved dress code.

"I'm tired of looking at cleavage," she says. "I'm tired of looking at boys' underwear."

Her school year will start earlier than her students'. Lenhart will be training new teachers before the term begins Monday, Aug. 25.

Her daughter, Anna Lenhart, 14, will be starting 10th grade at North High. Anna says she's starting to think about going back to school, but probably won't give it too much thought until a week before it starts. The new dress code won't affect her too much. Her usual attire is T-shirts and jeans.

Among Anna's classes will be German - in both the fall and spring terms. She plans to be an exchange student in Wesel, as part of Hagerstown's Sister City program next summer.

Elizabeth Wine, 15, will be entering her sophomore year at Greencastle-Antrim High School in Greencastle, Pa.

She's been busy and hasn't thought much about returning to school. She recently returned from soccer camp at Bloomsburg University and planned to be at a Young Life camp in Virginia this week.

Elizabeth's high school has a dress code requiring that shirts have sleeves. Shorts have to be of a certain length, but since her school is air conditioned, she usually wears pants. It's difficult to find shorts that meet dress code requirements, says her mother, Debbie Wine, who teaches third grade at Greencastle Elementary School.

She and Elizabeth shop together. "Mom and Dad are still buying Elizabeth's clothes," Debbie Wine says. "So she has some say and they've had no problems, she says.

"I wouldn't want to wear some of the things they're selling," Elizabeth says.

Elizabeth has used three-ring binders since sixth grade. "I love them," she says. You can put things in and take things out easily because the binder opens and closes. "I can organize a lot better," she says.

Amy Belliotti, 12, will be in eighth grade at Western Heights Middle School in Hagerstown and plans to get some new shoes and shirts before school starts.

She says she'll wait until about a week and a half before school starts Monday, Aug. 25, to readjust her sleeping schedule. During the summer she's been staying up until midnight and sleeping until noon.

When classes begin, she'll have to be in school at 7:45 a.m.

Amy says she actually can't wait to get back to school. She's looking forward to seeing friends she hasn't seen all summer.

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