First day at high school a little rough
August 31, 2004
Misplaced computers, jumbled schedules and overcrowding made the first day of classes at Carson High School a little rougher than some students and administrators had hoped.
“I’ve got a lot on my mind,” new vice principal Pat Hoolihan said Tuesday, on his way to search for misplaced computers while navigating a sea of hungry students at lunchtime. “A lot of stuff got moved around during the fire.”
The school was used as an evacuation center during July’s Waterfall fire, causing equipment – such as four or five computers – to go missing.
Standing in the school’s administration area, Hoolihan’s eyes darted to three people needing his attention.
“I’ll be right there,” he said to a student, taking a deep breath. “A good term for what I’m doing today is traffic control.”
Junior Derek Mares, 16, rushed to school at 11:30 a.m. wearing an unbuttoned red Hawaiian print shirt, clutching a weathered blue notebook.
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“I slept in,” he said. “I’m being lazy. I woke up at 11 o’clock, and I was like, I can’t believe it. My dad had already gone to work.”
He called his sister for a ride, and she picked him up at lunch.
“I’m just trying to figure out my schedule now,” he said. “I’m a little nervous about being late, but hey, it’s working out.”
Senior Ila Bottoms, 17, stood in the hallway scanning the school’s block schedule with wide eyes.
“I’m having scheduling conflicts,” she said. “I can’t take this class. I’ve got to figure out what to do.”
She said she’s already thinking about the end of the school year.
“I’m eager to get out,” she said, a smile breaking up the stress on her face.
For most, the morning started with a gigantic assembly in the gym for the 2,614 students who showed up for the first day of school.
“It was a mass of humanity,” vice principal Carl Henry said. “In my 24 years here, I’ve never seen the gym overflowing that way.”
Carson High School is the largest high school north of Las Vegas; the only public high school in a city of 55,000 people.
Administrators also had less time than usual to prepare for the beginning of the school year.
“Between summer school and the fire, we didn’t have a lot of time,” said new Principal Fred Perdomo.
He said 30,000 square feet of new floor tile was installed just last week, while all of the cleaning had to be done at the same time. Teacher meetings and student orientation groups had to meet throughout the week amid construction crews.
“I haven’t slept much this last week,” Perdomo said.
Formerly the school’s only vice principal, Perdomo took over for retired principal Glen Adair. Now Henry and Hoolihan, former deans, split Perdomo’s former duties overseeing curriculum, facilities, athletics and operations.
Perdomo said with the demands of such a large school, he could still use a third vice principal.
Henry said the school’s size creates inevitable stress for everyone.
“Everybody’s under some pressure,” he said. “We’re just trying to keep a lid on the largest school in Northern Nevada.”
Contact Robyn Moormeister at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1215.