COLUMBIA — Students and parents were ushered to class during Battle High School's first back-to-school night Monday. It followed a similar format to other back-to-school nights: Parents followed their children's class schedules to meet their teachers.
"I like knowing the teachers, and I like knowing that my daughter knows I know the teachers," said Amy Modrell-Miller, a parent and a volunteer in a merchandise store set up for the evening in a classroom.
But there was something more to this evening than the annual meet-and-greet.
"It's cool to be a part of something new. ... They'll be making history here," another parent and volunteer, Jolene Watkins, said.
As the administrators generally kept watch in the hallway, guiding families around the 300,000-square-foot building, Jody Spriggs, an art teacher, enjoyed a small break from the influx of new and slightly confused parents.
"The last group I had was small, but they weren't even my class," Spriggs said.
She had taken over for another art teacher who was required to be at Jefferson Middle School's back-to-school night. All of Spriggs' own classes so far had been full of curious parents and their teens.
But Spriggs didn't mind. "I just love talking about art," she said.
High school students aren't always the most expressive in terms of talking with their parents, Spriggs said, but coming to a new school with them was a way for them to open up about it.
Obviously, the parents and students are interested in seeing the facility, Spriggs said, but the parents also get to step into their children's shoes and experience how far apart their classes really are in the new building.
"We look at the lives of our youth and say, 'It's so easy.' No, no, no," Spriggs said.
Spriggs is a big believer in the potential students have for greatness.
"They're brilliant," she said. "They (the public) need to see them in action. ... The social interaction is something we get to see in the arts."
As families filed into Spriggs' classroom for the next session, the sense of excitement about being Spartan navy and gold continued.
"Try it on!" Modrell-Miller entreated a family of three looking at a Battle Spartan hoodie at the makeshift merchandise store.
"Can I go back to high school?" she asked no one in particular. "I would enjoy high school here."
Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.