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Berkeley Co. students go back to classrooms

August 27, 2005|By CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va.

Sarah Hoffman-Benadom learned about educational theories and practical classroom skills in college and worked as a student teacher before graduating from Shepherd University last spring.

Still, the first-year teacher found some surprises Friday, the first day of school for students in West Virginia.

"It was different because I've never actually had the first day of school with the students," Hoffman-Benadom said. "I probably had just as much jitters as the kids did."

Hoffman-Benadom was at Burke Street Elementary School on Friday. Because she's a "traveling teacher," she teaches at Marlowe Elementary School for the first four days of each week and at Burke Street on Fridays.

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"The highlight of my day was probably just seeing the kids smiling. And their parents dropping them off," Hoffman-Benadom said.

She teaches physical education and had gained at least one devoted pupil.

Second-grader Courtney Comer was quick to name her favorite subject: "Gym!"

"We went outside. We played games, kickball. My foot was hurting in kickball," Courtney said at the end of the school day as she waited for her brother.

Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny Arvon visited 15 schools on Friday and reported no problems during the students' first day.

"Everything that I've encountered today has been positive," he said.

A main concern every year is ensuring the county's 1,300 to 1,400 kindergartners get on and off the correct bus and at the right place. Arvon said he believed that happened.

Two schools, Mountain Ridge Intermediate School in Gerrardstown, W.Va., and Martinsburg South Middle School, won't open to students until Monday.

South Middle School underwent an extensive renovation over the summer, while Mountain Ridge Intermediate is a new school.

Both will be ready for students, although some work remains to be done, Arvon said.

The new gymnasium floor still needs to be installed at South Middle, while the front entrance at Mountain Ridge will not be usable for another week or so, Arvon said.

Back at Burke Street Elementary, first-grader Lucus Hall, 6, said the first day of school was "good."

"Getting to play outside," was the best part of the day, he said.

Lucus' mother, Zecola Hall, said she was nervous about sending her oldest son off to school.

"He's growing up so fast," she said.

Courtney's mother, Molly Greenfield, said she also sent her children off to school with a touch of reluctance.

"I love it when they're home," she said. "I miss them when they're gone. It was so quiet today."

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