It's back to school time

Over 2,000 students,142 teachers and 82 support staff will return to South Whidbey schools tomorrow for the start of the 2003-2004 school year.

In spite of the warmer-than-usual summer, many South Whidbey students are anxious to see the end of vacation and return to school, to see friends and begin a new year.

During registration last week at Langley Middle School, students picked up schedules, saw friends and for some, visited the school for the first time.

But there were others -- the eighth-graders -- who already had one foot in high school.

"The best thing about this year is I will be in high school next year," Adrian Arvizu said.

For eighth-grader Anna Carty, the best thing about the coming school year is, "my friends and me are almost in high school."

Sahara Coleman, also an eighth-grader, said she will be "happy to see all my friends again."

As students read their registration cards, anxious mothers peered over their students' shoulders to confirm this year's classes.

Martha-Rocio Gil-Osorio accompanied by her mother and older sister, Claudia, is looking forward to a "fun year."

"I expect it to be a great one," Gil-Osorio said.

After students picked up registration cards they were off to another room to pick up day planners and physical education clothes. Daily planners --$2.50 apiece -- are required by many middle school teachers.

One student commented, "It helps us stay organized and learn how to plan homework assignments.

For seventh-grader Natalie Wheeler, this is her first year in public school. Wheeler has attended private schools up until this year and is looking forward to starting class.

"I'm a excited about the sports programs here," Wheeler said

Her mother, Teresa Wheeler agreed.

"This is a momentous year for Natalie because there are so many opportunities and choices for her in the public school," she said said.

Joining Wheeler in seventh-grade is Victoria Comfort. Comfort, a friend of Wheelers, just moved here from Australia, There she attended year-round school, so she has a semester of seventh-grade under her belt.

In spite of that, Comfort admits she is "still a bit nervous" about a new school and new people.

LMS Principal Greg Willis, who recently returned from vacation and was on hand for registration, was ready -- after nearly two decades as the school's top administrator -- to start another year at the school.

"This is what I look forward to every year, seeing students in the hallways again."

Friends, Katie Holt and Sarah Buchanan are thrilled to be middle schooners this year. Here they are choosing their PE uniforms for sixth-grade at LMS.

Langley Middle School teacher, Kent Ratekin readies his classroom for a unpacking his supplies for the new year. The eighth-grade teacher has taught for 22 years, six in the South Whidbey School district.

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