Overflow crowd of parents and students pack middle school orientation

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If the packed crowd at the Maricopa Wells Middle School orientation Monday was any indication, the 1,250 students anticipated this fall might be a conservative estimate.

Held from 1 – 3 p.m., the event was standing room only with not a single parking space left in the lot.

The orientation, for incoming sixth graders and new students in grades 7 and 8, was an overview of the rules, scheduling and dress code for students (see related story).

Dean of Discipline Enos Jordan outlined expectations for students, including a zero tolerance policy for gang activities, clothing, signs or slogans. He also explained the policy regarding public displays of affection (PDAs). The school does not allow touching, neither hands nor lips. “The first thing I’m going to do when your student is sent to my office,” Enos said, “is call you and tell you that Mary is kissing Johnny. Hopefully that won’t come entirely as a surprise.”

Principal Stephanie Sharp reminded parents that this year’s dress code will only allow shirts with logos two by two inches in size. “Don’t buy the shirts with sayings or large logos; they won’t be allowed,” she noted.

Sharp also encouraged any student having problems of any kind on the first school day,
Monday, Aug. 13, to come to her office for help. Prevention counselor Priscilla Behnke echoed those sentiments, adding that she would also be available for help or advice.

Students new to the campus were able to locate various buildings and classrooms; they were also able to meet some of this year’s staff.

One mother, whose family has just moved here from St. Johns in the Arizona high country, said, “We couldn’t pass up the job opportunities here, but this is really different for the kids. They’re pretty nervous, so this will hopefully help.”

Photos by Joyce Hollis