August 31, 2010

A Day of Firsts

Shiloh Vanhyll, Matt Morse and  Brett Metz pool their directional resources on the first day of school.
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY – Another year, another new batch of freshman officially initiated into the fold – which means they were left to find their way around the sprawling campus that will, for the next four years, be their home away from home.
Yesterday, about 900 freshman followed abbreviated versions of their new schedules, mainly just to get a feel for what it is like to make it from point A to point B in seven minutes or less.
A trio of lost boys huddled near a tree, comparing schedules and looking off in different directions, trying to determine which way to go next.
Shiloh Vanhyll, Matt Morse and Brett Metz finally accepted help, and were quickly heading in the right direction. However, a second huddle on their new path prompted English teacher Tim Cain, on hand to direct foot traffic, to ask if they were still lost. The boys all shook their heads in the negative, and then scattered.
“Probably just making meeting-for-lunch-plans,” observed Robin Perrin, of the school's alumni office.
Perrin, who's seen it all before over the past 30 years, said students arrived at about 7:15 a.m., and would be done for the day by 12:45 p.m.
This time next year, the highly-anticipated Freshman Academy will be home base for ninth graders.
Zach Gagnon, a freshman soccer player,
 rocked a soccer tie and new kicks.
Although it won't eliminate the need for campus tours, it should reduce much of the anxiety felt by freshmen who find themselves overwhelmed by the bigness of Pinkerton's campus.
Yesterday, Head Master Mary Anderson said the new building is about 20 percent complete, and construction is on track.
Other updates on campus include a new roof on both the Field House and Shepard Building, and generators that will help sustain the intercom system in the event of a power outage.
The school is also tightening up its existing dress code, letting parents know that students will either be sent home to change clothes, or parents will have to bring acceptable items to school.
Brian Jarvis demonstrates how to make
origami frogs in his tech drawing class.
Restrictions are clearly spelled out in the student handbook, said Anderson, who acknowledged that whenever school starts and the weather is particularly hot, it's a challenge to find a balance between comfortable clothing and adequate coverage of body parts.
Freshman Academy slated to be ready
by Sept. 2011. 
Also, the school is stepping up enforcement of new no-bullying legislation as required under state law, which means even isolated incidents involving insults and taunting or physical or verbal attacks of students by other students must be reported to the state. In the past, bullying was considered reportable if a student demonstrated a pattern of bullying behavior.
Today students will meet class by class with grade-level advisors in four separate assemblies, to review the school calendar of events – which is extensive.
“It takes time, but soon enough they will have everything figured out,” Perrin said. “And then there are some things that take a little longer. Like finding Room 4. It's a little room in the basement of one of the buildings, and no one can ever find it,” Perrin said.

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