The First-day Ritual

School year marks last that all high schoolers will attend one campus

Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2007

At 7:15 a.m. Wednesday students began to fill the commons of Juneau-Douglas High School. Between high-fives and reunion hugs with last year's friends, students worked the first-day logistics of locker assignments, class assignments and getting to know their schedules before the day officially started.

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It's the last year high school students will attend one campus. Next fall, the $60 million Thunder Mountain High School opens its doors and the high school population will be split between two schools.

District officials estimate that district-wide student enrollment will increase by 30 students this year, but Wednesday 14 fewer students were enrolled in the elementary schools while the middle schools gained 13.

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To see kids' comments on their first day of school, click here to launch video player.

"We'll have better numbers as the week goes," Superintendent Peggy Cowan said.

Last school year, 70 fewer high school students attended than the year before, in which 135 fewer students enrolled than the year before that.

Overall district enrollment has shrunk by nearly 500 students since hitting a 10-year high of 5,701 in the fall of 1999. This year's numbers equal the student counts of 1992, with roughly 5,250 students in the district.

Cowan said that hundreds of fewer students in the district mean less crowded elementary and middle schools, but JDHS remains crowded.

"The bulge is still moving through the high school," Cowan said.

• Contact Greg Skinner at 523-2258 or greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.



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