By Curt Yeomans
The wait is almost over for rising Jonesboro Middle School sixth-grader, Asia Allen.
Allen, 11, is just one of the many students who are scheduled to begin middle school in Clayton County, on Monday.
She is expected to attend Jonesboro Middle School, where she will be assigned to literacy teacher Amanda Hanie's homeroom. The youth said she is excited about starting middle school, and learning new subjects. But, there is one thing, above all else, that she is most excited about -- those shiny lockers, which are covered in coats of red, and black paint that make them appear as if they are brand new.
"I've been waiting for them for a long time," Allen said. "I'm a sixth-grader now, and fifth-grade didn't have all of this stuff."
Students, and their parents, got a sneak peak of the upcoming school year -- well, at least a chance to find out what home room they will be in, and what their class schedule might be -- during open houses at Clayton County's elementary, middle and high schools, on Thursday.
The school system arranged the open houses to take place on a tiered schedule, so elementary schools held theirs from 1 p.m., to 3 p.m., while middle schools held theirs from 4 p.m., to 6 p.m., and high schools hosted ninth-grade orientations from 6:30 p.m., to 8:30 p.m.
The high schools are scheduled to host open houses for tenth-through-twelfth-graders, on Aug. 12, from 6 p.m., to 8 p.m.
Jonesboro Middle School Principal Freda Givens said that while she did not have an official count of how many parents were coming to her school's open house, it looked to her as if more people were there this year than in years past. The school's hallways were busy with parents and students bustling past one another to get to, and from, classrooms.
"We're always glad to see this many parents come out for an open house at the school," she said. Givens attributed the number of people who came to the open house to the fact that parents with students in more than one school did not have to choose which open house they would attend.
Parent, LaShaun Allen (Asia Allen's mother), said she is looking forward to having her daughter enrolled in Jonesboro Middle School. "I love it, I love the school," the mother said. "I like her teacher, because she's serious about learning, from what I've gathered this evening."
Another parent, Shelly Collins, whose twin sons, Bralen and Brelen Moody, will be starting sixth-grade at Jonesboro Middle, also praised the open house's format. Collins said she is already familiar with the school, because her older daughter, Briana Alston, attended the school, and will be moving on to Jonesboro High School this year.
"When she was in sixth-grade, everything was kind of haywire during the open house," Collins said. "Now, it's a much smoother operation. Everyone is very helpful."
And, even though seventh-graders already have a year of middle school under their belts, they too have something new to look forward to.
Rising Jonesboro Middle School seventh-grader, Anthony Gause, said he can now try out for the school's basketball team. He said the team is only open to seventh-and eighth-graders.
"I'm going to be trying out for the team," Gause said. "Hopefully, I'll be a good player."