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Centennial’s meet and greet hopes to ease first-day issues

It’s every middle schooler’s worst nightmare.

You show up on the first day and try to open your locker. It doesn’t work.

At Centennial Middle School on Tuesday, this happened a lot.

“That has been what you’ve been afraid of all summer,” Julie Meyer joked with her seventh-grade daughter, Kaylan. At least it didn’t happen on the first day of school – instead it was during a meet and greet the day before school started.

It’s the third year Centennial has done this, Principal Karen Bromps said. The first year was just for sixth-graders; in the years since, the rest of the classes have been invited. Students get their class schedules, try to open their lockers and meet their new teachers.

She said there are about 600 students enrolled at the school and staff “embraces a day like today,” she said Tuesday.

For sixth-graders, there are big changes in store. While they don’t have six or seven different classes every day like the seventh- and eighth-graders, they have a couple.

“I’m nervous I’m going to get lost,” said Cooper Tennent, a sixth-grader who attended Pasadena Park last year.

For his mother, Shayla Rogers, she said she is looking forward to him learning new responsibilities.

Joy Utter’s seventh-grade daughter, Jordyn Vader, was also having a hard time opening her locker – a problem she didn’t have last year.

“We’re trying to figure it out,” Vader said. Mother and daughter both are looking forward to the school year, learning new things and making new friends.

“I’m still trying to comprehend that I have a seventh-grader,” Utter said.

Nolan Griffin is a sixth-grader coming in from Ness Elementary. He said he met his teachers and wasn’t nervous about middle school.

“I just want to get through the school year,” he said.

Seventh-grader Kathryn Recchia is looking forward to meeting new people this year. Her father, Antonio, is hoping to sign her up for sports.

“I want to get her involved in something besides homework,” he said.

During the meet and greet, Associated Student Body officers performed a skit. Wearing white gloves under a black light, they sang about being a Falcon – the school mascot – to Bruno Mars’ “Treasure.”

When everyone was dismissed from the gym parents and students crowded into the hallways to find their lockers and classrooms.

Parent Mackenzie Bristow said she was looking forward to her son, Brenden Armstrong, meeting a larger group of students.

“I’m kind of nervous,” Brenden said. “But I’m ready for it.”