Opening day for Seneca


Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Students, teachers learning their way around new school

Courier-Post Staff

A bell sounds at 2:44 p.m. Tuesday, echoing through bright, still hallways. Moments later the same halls are a sea of commotion and noise.

Then doors burst open and hundreds of teens pour out under the gray sky and scurry toward a fleet of idling school buses.

The first first day of school at Seneca High School, South Jersey's newest high school, is officially over.

Principal John Furgione, who said he could hardly sleep for excitement Monday night, stood in the empty cafeteria at the end of the day wearing a smile of relief.

"There were a few opening-day glitches, but for the most part everything went really well," Furgione said.

Six years in the making, Tuesday was a landmark day not just for the roughly 860 students and 75 teachers who call Seneca home, but also for the township and the Lenape Regional High School District.

Approved by voters in the eight district municipalities in December 1997, Seneca was then slated to open in September 2000. But construction was delayed for three years because of Pinelands issues and legal wrangling. Those delays and other factors increased the school's final price tag from a planned $37 million to roughly $45.7 million.

But those issues were of little importance Tuesday as new students and new teachers seemed more concerned with simply finding their way around the 255,008-square-foot building.

"It's a little confusing, but I like it a lot better than my old school," said Katie Bush, 14, a freshman from Southampton. "The teachers are nice and the other kids are too."

Sitting with three friends at a cafeteria table during her lunch period, Bush was one of many new faces in the new building. Like so many of her peers, she's excited to learn her way around and make friends with the students from Shamong, Tabernacle and Woodland who also attend Seneca.

"I kind of like that it's bigger," Bush said. "I used to know every kid in my grade."

Aaron Jobes, 14, also a freshman from Southampton, had a more practical reason for preferring Seneca to Southampton School No. 3, where he went last year - the food in the cafeteria was better.

"I got a Papa John's Pizza and a Hawaiian Punch," Jobes said. "And the lunch ladies are so much better. . . . I love it here."

For Whitney McMaster, another Southampton freshman, her one complaint about the new school has little to do with the building or the people in it.

"I went on the bus and it's like an hour to get here," McMaster said. She had to wake up at 6:30 a.m. and get to the bus stop at 7 a.m.

Freshman Dustin Treat of Tabernacle experienced one of the small glitches Tuesday. His schedule told him he had a study hall when really he was supposed to be in computer class. He ended up getting to class late.

"I'm all confused about my schedule," Treat said.

English teacher Jay Black came to Seneca last week and purposely got himself lost so he'd learn his way around the building. He thinks students will have no problem finding their way after a couple of days.

"They'll adjust faster than the teachers will, to tell you the truth," Black said.

After four years of rotating between classrooms at Shawnee High School, Black finally has a room and a desk to call his own at Seneca.

"It's great. I'll finally be able to put up my posters," Black said.


Ha... :p

They aren't exactly the forces of evil, but too often the forces of personal politics have come into play...not evil, but not exactly altruistic, either...people will be people, eh?