Go Aught-Aught! Rock on, Naught-Naught! Gooooooooooo Zeroes!
Just what is the Class of 2000 going to call itself?
"Zero! Yes!" jokes Jennifer Flowers, 14, a freshman at Greenbrier High School.
Rebecca Newhall, a language arts teacher at Westside High School, wonders when, at pep rallies, the class of 1998, say, gives the traditional yell - '98, '98, 9-9-9-8! - "What are y'all going to yell - `0-0-0-0!'?"
And what about a theme song? Prince's 1999 undeniably will be the tune for the Class of 1999, and the Class of 2001 can hum along to the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but who'll supply music for the millennium class?
The cynics among them aren't worried.
"Personally, the world is going to blow up in 1999, so I don't think we're going to have any 2000," says Matt Burwell, 14, a Westside freshman.
Matt's half-jesting, half-serious answer aside, today's 14- and 15year-olds are starting to be concerned about their role in four years when the world enters a realm explored only by science fiction writers.
Freshmen who make up the Class of 2000 started their high school days last week in Richmond and Columbia counties. Monday is the first day of school in Aiken County.
Like their Class of 1900 counterparts - who called themselves the Class of Aught-Aught or NaughtNaught - today's freshmen aren't quite sure what the turn of the millennium will bring.
"It's scary," says Scott Sumner, 15, who attends Westside High. "What happens if we start out on the wrong foot? You never know. I mean, we're the future."
It's something Jennifer has dreamed of since she was 10 years old.
"It's kind of like knowing you are going to learn how to drive: When you're little, you always look forward to it," she says. Jennifer turns 15 on Sept. 9 and will apply for her learner's permit.
One dream down, one to go.
"You always heard that 2000 is the point that would never come. And it's coming," Jennifer says. "It's a different century. It's like a clean slate - you feel like you get a whole new world to go out into. It's a fresh start.
"I think that carries a little bit of arrogance with it," Jennifer says.
That's what makes the Class of 2000 stand out - the chance to do something no one else has, other freshmen say.
"I think our Class of 2000 is special because we're going to be able to try all the new inventions that will be coming out," says Takiyah Manning, 15.
The tantalizing prospect of all those new gadgets and toys captivates members of the Class of 2000. They predict the year 2000 will be "space age, like The Jetsons" rather than a facsimile of 1996, even though it's a scant four years off.
"We'll be driving around in little air ships," Jennifer jokes.
Maybe. Technology experts already predict such things as telemedicine, wearable computers and video-mail instead of e-mail will be commonplace by 2005, changing even our simplest routines.
With it all seeming so far away, though, the worries aren't weighing on these freshmen just yet.
"Right now, we think about will we have a car by then and we'll just be out of high school," says Martin Meszaros, 15, at Westside.
That's typical of most of the younger high school students, who don't really begin to refer to themselves as part of a class until they reach 11th grade, says Vivian Rudolph, ninth grade counselor at Academy of Richmond County High School.
"They haven't connected with that (Class of 2000 distinction) yet," Ms. Rudolph said. "I think they're just so overwhelmed with being in high school, they just take it one day at a time and don't think four years ahead."
In fact, what most concerned Westside teacher Leslie Olig's freshman language arts class the first day of school was when the Class of 2000 could take its senior skip days.
Skip days, an annual tradition as beloved among seniors as they are disdained by schools, are when the entire senior class opts to spend the day away from class. The official skip days are calculated by the kids based on their graduation year: For example, the Class of 1997 will skip the 97th day of the school year, Jan. 21, 1997.
But the school year is just 180 days - so skipping Day 200 won't work for the Class of 2000. Matt suggested the class skip every day that ends in a zero, which drew laughter from the room.
As they grow older and bound through high school, perhaps the Class of 2000 will better grasp what lies ahead. Right now, though, with the attention spans of the freshmen they are, they wonder about how they'll look at graduation.
"We're going to get to start a whole new (millennium) with two zeros on our cap," says Matt. "That's going to be boring."