School doors open

Students welcomed back to classrooms

Students welcomed back to classrooms

August 26, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

WASHINGTON COUNTY - When students arrived Wednesday for the first day of classes at Western Heights Middle School, they were welcomed back by 80 school employees wearing matching T-shirts, Principal Jennifer Ruppenthal said.

The navy blue T-shirts worn by the employees feature the school's mission statement and the year's theme, Ruppenthal said.

To make sure the message got across, art teachers painted the words "Welcome back!" on a hill in front of the school, she said.

Western Heights was not the only school welcoming students, as an estimated 19,045 students turned out Wednesday for the first day of classes at Washington County Public Schools, school system spokeswoman Carol Mowen said. The estimate did not include prekindergarten classes, she said.


The employees at Western Heights lined the front drive to welcome back the students, and the first day of school was celebrated with banners, balloons and other items, Ruppenthal said.

"We want our first interaction with students to be positive," Ruppenthal said.

Parent Somon Fuller said that the school's efforts to welcome the students helped her daughter, Dadeja, 10, a sixth-grade student who is making the transition from elementary school to middle school.

"That was really nice," Somon Fuller said. "She was a little nervous."

Joshua Griffin-Dorsey, 12, said he expects the new school year to include some tough assignments.

The eighth-grader said he anticipates "hard work - much harder than last year."

Devon Esche, 13, an eighth-grade student, said she was nervous Wednesday because it is her first year at the school. She previously lived in Germantown, Md., she said.

Devon said she is looking forward to making friends at the school.

Over at South Hagerstown High School, Randy Hutzell, 16, said it was good to see his friends.

Hutzell, an 11th-grader, said his hope for the year is to "just have fun."

At Eastern Elementary School, Jeffrey Morrison, 10, said being back in school "is fun. I get to read and see all my friends."

"I look forward to reading a lot this year," Jeffrey, a fifth-grader, said.

Fifth-grader Joani Santos, 10, said she was worried about returning to school because she has a new teacher. She was looking forward to learning life science this year, she said.

Devon Redman, 10, a fourth-grade student, said he was a little nervous about meeting his new teacher and worried he would not have friends in his class.

But he was pleased Wednesday to learn his best friend is in his class, he said.

The Herald-Mail Articles