School year passes first tests


The first day back to school Monday for 17-year-old Jasmine Wright came with the excitement of seeing good friends and starting her senior year.


"After six years here, now I'm finally a senior," said the John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet school student, who started at the Augusta school in sixth grade and on Monday received several welcome-back hugs from fellow classmates.

"I'm tired, though," she added with a grin, just before maneuvering the packed hallways of Davidson heading from her home room class to a Visual Arts building a lengthy walk away. "When I get home, I'm definitely going to sleep."

Wright's day started with her waking up at 6 a.m. Her first class focused on graphic design using computers and was near a 12th Street construction site that closed the school's exit for much of last school year. On Monday, though construction continued on 12th, the exit had been reopened for the first time in more than seven months.

Throughout Richmond County, school officials said the day went smoothly, but with a couple hiccups. Classrooms at Glenn Hills Middle were without air conditioning after a pump malfunctioned, causing students to be moved to a gym and auditorium. Parents were allowed to pick up students early.

Repairs were to continue today. Classes at Glenn Hills Middle will start two hours late, school officials said Monday night.

Air-conditioning units at Hephzibah Elementary also didn't respond initially to signals from a maintenance office that remotely sets their temperature. Workers had to manually set the units, but had them running at the right temperature Monday morning, officials said.

At Davidson, Wright's first teacher of the day was Travis Wiggins, who informed her and 17 other students what would be taught in the class and updated them on changes, including a countywide policy restricting certain online uses by students.

"A lot of stuff is locked down," he said of a policy added to this year's Student Code of Conduct, forbidding such things as blogging or social media uses unless it's related to the curriculum.

From the graphics class, Jasmine walked to another building to her AP literature class, where a quiz was scheduled. All total, because classes last 30 minutes each at Davidson, Jasmine had to attend 14 class periods Monday.

At A. Brian Merry Elementary School, Ciera Nesbitt began her first day of kindergarten in Lisa Sorrells' class. "It felt good," Ciera said about returning to classes and activities.

"We practiced the lunch line and the music line," added the 5-year-old. The best parts of her first day by 10 a.m. had been singing songs in music class, "playing with my friends," and coloring a picture, she said.

Ciera picked an orange crayon to draw a picture of herself and her sister, Diona, playing tag over the summer.

Sorrells said she is pleased with the 21 kindergartners she has this year.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know them all," she said.

Even in her eighth year of teaching, "I still get first-day jitters, too," Sorrells said.


Jasmine Wright, 17, a senior at John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, stops at her locker on the first day of the school year. "I was hoping I would get a top locker this year since I was a senior," she said. Wright attended 14 class periods Monday. \nRAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF

Ciera Nesbitt, 5, (right) holds hands with her friend Isabella Hernandez at A. Brian Merry Elementary. Monday was Ciera's first day of kindergarten in teacher Lisa Sorrells'class of 21.

Students remember Nicholas Hartfield
The first day

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