School gets first-class start

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Al Key
Bettye Myers Middle School teacher Aaron Frederick, foreground left, and librarian Ivey Carey (center) help students find their classes on the first day of school at the new campus on Garza Road in Shady Shores Monday.

SHADY SHORES — Starting at 7:45 a.m., new students began filtering into Bettye Myers Middle School to gather in the cafeteria before navigating their way through the first day of classes at the new school.

Students from about four area middle schools either chose to transfer to or were redistricted to the new campus, and some said they were excited to be a part of the first classes at the school.

“I’m excited to see my friends,” said Vianca Espinoza, a seventh-grader who went to Calhoun Middle School last year. She said a lot of her friends came to the school, too, so it isn’t entirely unfamiliar.

“It’s so nice here, but she’s pretty nervous,” said her mother, Maria Espinoza.

Vianca was one of 685 students who went to Myers on Monday, part of the 25,491 students enrolled in Denton schools that day, according to the district.

Teachers and administrators lined the hallways with printed sheets of every student’s name and first class name and room to help students find their way. Administrators from the district also walked around the building to see how the first day was going.

“It’s going smoothly,” said David Hicks, executive director for secondary academic programs for the school district. “The kids and parents are excited, and our teachers are ready to go.”

By the end of the day, there had been no major problems. The only minor issue at Bettye Myers Middle School that Principal Angela Ricks noticed was that lunches went a little long, but the staff had anticipated this and had a plan in place to make sure no instructional time was taken away.

“It was a great day,” Ricks said. “We kept waiting for the hammer to fall or that big problem to come up, but it did not. We and our students had a great day.”

Before school started, various parents and students said they were excited to be the first class in a new school. The new school has wireless Internet, new projectors and a modern design.

Additionally, the mobility around the school is great for Vincent Viering, an eighth-grader who will be on crutches all year.

Even though there is only one elevator in the building, the wider hallways and updated equipment will make his day-to-day life at school easier, said his father, Bob Viering.

“I think it’s supposed to be easier for him to get around, it’s more modern and more accessible,” Viering said. “He likes that there’s high-definition TVs, and a lot of his friends and one or two of his teachers came here.”

Vincent’s mom, Patti Viering, added that her son liked the idea of being in the first graduating class at the school, and that the cafeteria was a big plus as well.

Some parts of the school are not totally ready for students, like the library, which is awaiting custom shelving and more chairs and furniture. The library will be open in mid- to late September, estimated Robert Bostic, assistant superintendent for the district.

Bostic said the district had estimated the strong attendance numbers on the first day, and said the appeal of a new building with modern technology would be a huge draw for students.

“This building is going to be pretty full,” he said. “The opportunity the kids are going to have here is great.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.


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