Lawrence students learn their way around the city's schools as enrollment begins.
A Lawrence resident for all of two weeks, April Preston is learning a new way of thinking:
Classes that begin at 8:08 a.m., a library full of shelves that shoot out from circular walls, and a curriculum that doesn't include the one foreign language she knows best.
``It's different because it's a new environment and they don't have the same resources I'm used to,'' April said.
April, who is about to become a South Junior High eighth-grader, said goodbye to friends in Pennsylvania two weeks ago and moved here with her family. She spent Monday morning compiling a class schedule and filling out forms at new-student enrollment.
``I'm looking forward to new classes,'' she said, particularly math and word processing.
April admits she's nervous, but she is also eager to start the new school year.
``The biggest challenge will be finding my way around,'' she said.
She won't be alone. An entire class of seventh-graders and several students enrolling in Lawrence schools for the first time are all learning their way around SJH. Enrollment at the junior high is up this year, and some 10,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade students will be enrolled in Lawrence public schools this fall.
``We encourage them to come to the new student orientation so they see other faces and know, `It's not just me,''' SJH guidance counselor Pam Nuzum said. ``They realize there are lots of new kids.''
Nuzum said many new students won't admit that their biggest fear is meeting other students and making new friends.
``Both teachers and students at South are helpful and willing to make them feel comfortable,'' she said. ``It does get better. We try to reassure everybody.''
Those are words of comfort to parents as well as new students. April's mom, Sonia Preston, said she has a good feeling about her daughter's new school.
``It's different because she can't continue with German and will have to take Spanish,'' she said. ``But she'll do fine once she gets started. We're trying to encourage her to do her best.''
New student orientation at SJH is from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the school.
Schools throughout the district are holding new student enrollment and orientation this week. For more information, contact the school in your area.
--JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.