The first day of a new school year is always hectic. At the brand-new Newton High School, close to 2,000 students reported to classes Friday in unfamiliar territory .
But administrators, teachers and selected students were on hand to answer questions and direct everyone through the two-story school’s more than 380,000 square feet of space.
Student tour guides such as Keiera Cofield and Rhyan Davis were posted in the hallways between classes, ready to help their peers find their way.
NHS school secretary Nichelle Banks, the welcoming face in the school’s front office, answered phone calls and even walked parents trying to register students to the appropriate rooms.
Banks said the main question she was asked during her first day of school was, "Where is registration?’’
"The parents have been very patient," Banks said. …"I think because we had everyone in place—administrators, tour guides, it went a lot smoother than we anticipated."
In the cafeteria, a staff member said serving lunch on the first day of school is always a bit stressful, but lunch was prepared in a new kitchen with state-of- the-art equipment. As the bell rang for the first lunch shift, students at first formed a long line, but then scattered to different serving windows as they opened.
Many students used their lunch period to find their peers and catch up on what happened during the summer. Senior Kyle Stevens said he enjoyed the new cafeteria and added that the food isn’t new. It was, he pointed out, "chicken tenders Friday."
As for the teachers, many were thrilled to have more classroom space. Agriculture teacher Melissa Snyder, who also serves as the Future Farmers of America adviser, said her new classroom will allow students to learn in an open environment.
"I love the space because the students don’t have to be on the top of each other to learn," Snyder said. "Students can have a more hands-on experience. (I) can bring animals into (the0 classroom, do more lab activities. It’s not just a lecture environment."
New NHS principal Eclan David did paperwork, talked with administrators, and greeted students in the cafeteria during lunch. He said the first day of school, whether in a new or old building, will always be "extremely busy."
"You are going to have some classes that may be a little too large or little too small. [Teachers] are going to be working on balancing schedules, making sure that the students have their schedules," David said. "The difference this year is the level of excitement."