'Flexible' is the key word as schools open doors

September 09, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Except for a visit from the Oriole Bird, it was a pretty typical school day in Carroll County.

Make that a typical first school day.

"This is a day when everyone has to be really flexible," said Dorothy Mangle, director of elementary education for the Carroll County public schools.

"This is a day when things will not run too smoothly," she said. "Of course, children tend to think it will be the same as last year -- they'll ride the same bus at the same time. Some go to their old teacher's room."

A first-grade boy at Winfield Elementary School did not make that mistake this year, but he did walk into the wrong first-grade classroom, sit down at a desk and get settled.

When the teacher noticed he was in the wrong room -- he belonged in another first-grade room -- he became indignant and wouldn't budge, Mrs. Mangle said.

"He seemed to think we were trying to take him back to kindergarten," Mrs. Mangle said. "He was adamant. His book bag was on the floor, and he wasn't going to budge. It took three adults to convince him to walk down the hall to the class where he belonged."

When the boy finally got there -- protesting all the way -- and saw his name on his very own desk, he seemed happy and realized he was where he belonged, Mrs. Mangle said.

One new school, Friendship Valley Elementary School in Westminster, opened in the county this year, and another, Twin Ridge Elementary, opened just across the county line in the Frederick County half of Mount Airy.

The Oriole Bird, the feather-suited mascot of the Baltimore baseball club, greeted the 585 students of Friendship Valley yesterday morning as they got off their buses.

Principal Curtis Schnorr said he got the idea while he was at opening day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He called the Orioles public relations office in April to reserve a visit from the Bird for his school's opening day. By calling early, he said, he got the Bird before any other schools called.

The school draws students who previously went to all three Westminster elementary schools, so many left behind friends at William Winchester, Westminster and Robert Moton schools.

"It's especially hard on the fifth-graders," said Dr. Schnorr, whose own daughter is enrolled in that grade at the school.

To alleviate any lingering sadness among the fifth-graders, Dr. Schnorr has given them a large role in choosing the school colors and mascot. He also gave them a prominent role in the ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday afternoon.

Contributing to the relative calm at Friendship Valley yesterday morning was a phone system on the blink.

"By now, the phones would be ringing off the hook -- 'Did So-and-So make it?' " Dr. Schnorr said.

At Twin Ridge, a fire alarm provided another kind of diversion. The false alarm was set off by a surge in the sprinkler system while technicians were working in the boiler room, said Eileen Tipperman, assistant principal.

Even though that alarm required children to evacuate the building, the school had another fire drill -- a planned one -- later in the afternoon, Mrs. Tipperman said.

The children began the day with a formal flag-raising, joined by uniformed members of the Frederick Composite Squadron Air Patrol.

The 652 children attending Twin Ridge all live in Frederick County, including about 20 children from Mount Airy who previously had attended Mount Airy Elementary School.

Peter McDowell, director of secondary schools in Carroll County, said the first day was going smoothly for the older students.

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