Lockers a big hit at new school Pupils' first lesson at Linton Springs is storage etiquette

August 25, 1998|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Donna R. Engle contributed to this article.

The main attraction at the new Linton Springs Elementary School in Sykesville yesterday wasn't the middle-school-size gym or the state-of-the-art media center.

The buzz was about the bright blue lockers.

As schools in Carroll County opened for more than 26,000 students yesterday, Maria Griffith's second-grade class at Linton Springs sat in a hallway, mouths open, heads tilted up. They hung on Griffith's every word, as she gave instructions on how to use a locker.

"You will see that we have hooks, so if you have an umbrella, book bag or coat you don't have to put everything on one hook," Griffith said. "This is your locker. You keep that locker the way you feel comfortable with it."

Griffith did demonstrate some locker etiquette, such as how to close it quietly, and she set down some rules.

"The lockers are not for toys," Griffith said. "We do not have any toys coming to school."

Well-versed in locker use, the second-graders carefully put their book bags and lunches away and quietly closed their lockers.

"It's pretty neat," said Ryan Blair, 7. "I wish they'd make it a little bigger."

Linton Springs was one of two new elementary schools to open yesterday in Carroll County. The $8.5 million school was built to relieve crowding in South Carroll, the county's most populous region.

Most of the school's pupils came from Eldersburg Elementary, an older school that didn't have lockers.

"When the students saw their names on each locker, that was very special," said Principal Nancy Chapin.

Kitchen delay

Guidance counselor Jenni Lewis said the excitement of being at a new school seemed to dispel pupils' opening-day jitters.

"There was not a single tear this morning, and that's a first," Lewis said.

The day went as planned at Linton Springs, except for one glitch in the cafeteria operation.

A late delivery of equipment means that the kitchen won't be in working order for two weeks. Until then, the cafeteria staff will make lunches at South Carroll High School every morning, pack them into coolers and drive them to Linton Springs Elementary.

Yesterday morning, cafeteria manager Trish Armstrong was squeezed into a corner of the South Carroll High kitchen making peanut butter-and-jelly and ham-and-cheese sandwiches.

Armstrong and her staff delivered the 90 lunches to Linton Springs in time for the first shift at 10: 45 a.m.

More memorable

"You just have to go with the flow and make the best of it," said Armstrong. "The kids always get lunch, no matter how whacked out we are by the end of the day."

Chapin chose to see the cafeteria complications in a positive light.

L "It just makes it more of a memorable experience," she said.

As public schools across the county began the 1998-1999 academic year yesterday, school officials reported a smooth opening day. Edwin Davis, director of pupil services, said that 26,618 children reported for classes yesterday, 421 more than this time last year. He said final enrollment figures won't be available until Sept. 30.

Routine day

"It has been a very quiet, very routine first day," said county schools spokeswoman Carey Gaddis.

She said a couple of parents called the school switchboard to ask whether schools were going to close because of the hot weather.

Charles Carroll and William Winchester Elementary schools and North Carroll Middle School have no air conditioning.

Francis Scott Key and South Carroll High schools and Mount Airy, Sykesville and West Middle schools are partially air-conditioned.

Richard Huss, principal at Charles Carroll Elementary, said pupils and staff held up well yesterday despite the heat.

New building

"It's hot, but it's surely workable," Huss said. "Everyone is so focused on the opening, and the excitement of the day counterbalances it."

In Union Bridge, pupils returned to classes at the new Elmer A. Wolfe Elementary School, which was built on the old school's site. The 66-year-old building was demolished last year.

Principal Mary Stong said the only first-day problem was crowding on some school buses, which she planned to resolve with minor route changes.

Air conditioning

She said pupils were disappointed that the playgrounds weren't ready for use. The large playground, for pupils in grades one through five, was scheduled to be ready for pupils today. The playground for preschool and kindergarten children is scheduled for completion next week.

The new building has air conditioning, a feature that pupils and faculty appreciated as the temperature reached 94 degrees yesterday afternoon. "We've never had an air-conditioned building before," Stong said.

Teachers gave their pupils tours of the building, but Stong said she expected some children to get lost in the first days. The building is rectangular, so lost pupils will invariably end up back at the administrative office, where they can get help, she said.

"It's just like the Wizard of Oz. You just keep following the pathway," Stong said.

First day of school

Anne Arundel County, Monday

Baltimore City, Monday

Baltimore County, tomorrow

Frederick County, Monday

Harford County, Sept. 8

Queen Anne's County, tomorrow

Pub Date: 8/25/98

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