Rogers High School students’ first day of school Thursday was a day like no other.
Clad in their newest, favorite school clothes, hair done just so and a little sleep-deprived, the Pirates went back to school five days earlier than their contemporaries in most other area high schools.
Rogers won a $4 million federal grant to improve its graduation rate and academics, which required the school to add 100 hours to its schedule. The administration decided to start the year two school days early and add 30 minutes to each day.
Apparently the students didn’t mind too much. “It’s only two days. It’s not a big deal to me,” said Kaitlynn Stirling, a freshman. “Summer ends eventually.”
Staff and faculty thought they’d have a good showing but were surprised that more than 90 percent of the students showed up.
“It’s the most amazing thing,” said Principal Lori Wyborney.
They theorized kids were ready to go back to school, continue their learning and ready to see their friends. The girls shrieked and hugged when they encountered each other in the halls.
“I was really excited to see my friends,” said Liberty Beard, 14, who sat with a few pals at lunch. “I’m a freshman so it was kind of scary, but now I’ve been here for a few hours and it’s kind of cool.”
Assistant Principal Mary Tempelton said the day “rolled out beautifully.” There were no major hiccups, only the usual freshman angst, difficulty finding classrooms and keeping track of their new schedules.
Stirling was handling her first day as a freshman better than her first day in middle school, she said, despite waking up an hour late.
“I was really rushed, but you don’t have to look pretty to learn.”