The questions were standard: "Where's my next class?" "Where's the gym?" "Is there a water fountain around here?"
The fashions were varied: long shorts and short skirts; print pants and T-shirts; overalls with one strap left dangling.
And the sentiment about being back was unanimous: Although school's not perfect, it sure beats being home.
Both students and teachers at Marley Middle School in Glen Burnie said they were glad to be back at the educational grind Tuesday.
Most students said summer vacation had gotten pretty dull and they were happy to be back in school with their friends.
"I'm tired of sitting around the house. All I did was watch the soaps and cooked and cleaned," said Carla Rodriguez, a 13-year-old from Glen Burnie.
Octavia Lake, 13, from Glen Burnie said she was glad to be back because it meant "getting new clothes and getting my hair
And 13-year-old Candace Johnson, an eighth-grader from Glen Burnie, said she was happy just to get on with things.
"I'm glad to be back so I can get eighth grade over with," she said. "I'm looking forward to going to high school."
Of the many students who expressed enthusiasm about the opening of a newschool year, only Tommy Regur, 13, of Glen Burnie said he looked forward to getting better grades this year.
But, he admitted, he had ulterior motives.
"I'm going to get better grades so I can get back on the football team," said Tommy, who had his athletic privilege suspended last year because of sliding grades.
Tommy said he reallyis an "A" student at heart, but last year, girl-watching just got inthe way.
Teachers were glad to be back -- whether they had workedduring the summer or not.
Peggy Ketterle, an eighth-grade Englishteacher who worked 20 hours a week at Macy's this summer, said teaching beats working at a department store.
And Jeanne Meissner, an eighth-grade math teacher who took the summer off, said she looked forward to "being busy again."
By all accounts, the first day of the 1991-1992 school year went smoothly.
"Compared to last year, I guess it went smoother," said Pat Elswick, a parent volunteer who spent the day directing new students to their classes.
"There were no criers this year," she said. "Last year, I guess there were (some) sixth-graders crying. This year, they all pretty much seemed to know where they were going."
Diane Wagner, who transferred to Marley Middleafter seven years teaching in Prince George's County, said the levelof organization at her new school was incredible.
"I had a smoother first day than I had last year, when I was a veteran (at her former school)," she said. "Everyone was where they were supposed to be; everyone had what they needed. I'm impressed."
Several teachers said the first day went smoothly because the school switched to a computerized system for setting up student schedules this summer.
Principal Robert Janovsky, who began his fourth year at the
school yesterday, said far fewer students were floating around without schedules this year thanks to the new system.
The only noticeable glitch came after the last bell rang at 2:25 p.m.
"We're missing eight buses," shouted Janovsky, as he herded dozens of students back onto the sidewalk in front of the 33-year-old school.
The buses showed up minutes later. When the sidewalks cleared, only three out of nearly 800 students had missed their buses.
All in all, not a bad first day.