Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 20, 2012

Classes resume for students at OSU, Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. — Seniors at Stillwater High School got an early start on the school year with a cookout on school grounds Sunday.

The 200 or so students who attended left colorful chalk greetings on the sidewalks and brick walls near the main entrance.

Students etched the message “Welcome to SHS” near the main entrance, one of many chalkings visible for students as they returned to class on Monday.

Schools in the district and at Oklahoma State University officially opened on Monday.

Stillwater Public School Superintendent Ann Caine said enrollment could exceed 5,900 students this year.

According to Oklahoma State’s 2013 fiscal year budget, 24,950 students will be enrolled in classes at OSU Stillwater/Tulsa. That includes 19,680 undergraduates and 4,919 graduate students. The Stillwater campus is expected to have 22,732 students, a 3 percent increase. The Tulsa campus is expected to have 3,168 students, a 1.5 percent increase.

“The first day of school is always my favorite,” said high school principal Uwe Gordon, who greeted students outside of the main entrance as school began. “There’s always so much optimism and newness. I’ve known a lot of these kids for 12 or 13 years. We see each other at school, at games, at concerts. You get a chance to see them grow up.”

Instruction began on Day 1 in Jeree Youngker’s sophomore English class. Youngker used her projector to demonstrate techniques of writing a formal letter.

“It’s just the first day, but I can tell this is a very spirited group that shows their enthusiasm for learning,” Youngker told the class.

Sophomores in their first year in the high school building had the chance to get acquainted with a new facility, new teachers and new fellow students.

“I was really lost and confused getting to class,” said sophomore Timmy Nichols.

“My boyfriend showed me around to my classes, so it wasn’t so bad for me,” said Hanna Kilcrease.

The students weren’t the only people learning something new on Monday. The cafeteria staff at the high school quickly discovered what the students like to eat.

“We ran out of breaded beef fillets and popcorn chicken, and we came close to running out of mashed potatoes with Pioneer gravy,” said Tyanna Bateson, the assistant cafeteria manager at the high school. “So that means they like that. So we’ll make more of that next time.”

The campus of Oklahoma State University was buzzing on Monday with a record number of students. The freshman class alone has 4,306 students.

Courtney Buntz, a sophomore from Tulsa, took advantage of the pleasant temperatures by taking her work outside. On Monday, she sat at a table on the Student Union plaza after a busy morning of classes in chemistry, biology and statistics.

“Those classes are going to be very difficult,” she said. “I have labs in biology and chemistry. What I’m doing right now is going online and trying to get into courses I need to go into dental hygiene.”

Several information stations were set up throughout campus to help students with directions.

That was good news for students such as Jessica Thorp, a freshman from Helena. Thorp was given a campus map and directions to her class by volunteers Karen Nuerohr and Suzanne Reinman, who work at Edmon Low Library.

Classes began for each of Stillwater’s six elementary schools, as well as at the middle school and junior high.

“The first day is always very exciting, very hectic but in the end very rewarding,” said Westwood Elementary School principal Jill Metzger, who has been a teacher and administrator at the school for 21 years. “I think you forget year to year how crazy the beginning of school is. But we did great. Everybody was where they were supposed to be all day.”

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