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Incoming freshmen get a jump start on high school

Monday, August 18, 2014 | 7:14 p.m. CDT; updated 10:42 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 18, 2014
Students at Battle High School arrive Monday to take advantage of Columbia Public Schools' Jump Start Day. Hickman, Rock Bridge and Battle high schools provide new students the opportunity to learn the ropes, visiting classrooms and meeting teachers before the first day of classes on Tuesday.

COLUMBIA — School spirit looms large at Battle High School. In an assembly Monday morning, cheerleaders fired up a crowd of incoming freshman with cheers. "Louder," they yelled. "B-A-T-T-L-E. Get loud!"

Jump Start Day at Hickman, Rock Bridge and Battle provided high school freshman an opportunity to learn the ropes before the first day of classes on Tuesday. At Battle, students visited their new classrooms and met their new teachers. Sophomore, junior, and senior student helpers were available to answer questions.

It’s more than just finding your new classes, though: "We try to get students hyped," Mekhia Thompson, a sophomore at Battle, said.

Jamir Adams, 14, said he was a little nervous but looking forward to starting ninth grade. "Being in high school is exciting," he said. "It makes me feel like I'm going to go somewhere in my life."

Creating a sense of community is a priority for Battle principal Kim Presko. "The first people I hired were the football coach and the band director," Presko said. "Those programs do a tremendous job of building team spirit and pride."

School spirit is one of sophomore Mekhia Thompson's favorite things about Battle. "I like that I get to help create traditions," Thompson said.

This year marks the first senior class at Battle. "With a senior class there’s more opportunity for student leadership and empowerment in clubs and in student government," Presko said.

Abby Wallen, 16, was thrilled to be a senior at Battle. She intends to start a Sign Language Club and continue her other activities: Archery Club, Key Club, Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta and Student Council.

Being a part of the first full senior graduating class will be a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she said. "It’s really special. You can start clubs and lead by example."


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