The grade for efficiency wasn’t perfect, but it was far from failing.

All things considered, the first day for high school students at reconfigured Valley High transpired fairly well, officials and students said Friday. The school welcomed holdover high school students from last year as well as those from the closed Gauley Bridge High School.

Students in grades 5-8 got their initial chance to walk the halls Monday, then the entire student body was slated to come together for the first time yesterday.

Katie Arbogast, a sophomore who enrolled at VHS after attending GBHS previously, said — despite a dose of trepidation on her part — things were clicking pretty well on the opening day.

“It’s hectic, but it hasn’t been that big of a change,” said Arbogast, a Persimmon Road resident whose mother, Pam, is now a teacher at VHS. “Except for the fact that I’m sitting in a room where I don’t know (many of) the people. That’s been kind of scary.”

Arbogast said the only school she has known was Gauley Bridge, and she regrets that she didn’t get to finish out her high school career there. “My older brother and three older sisters graduated from Gauley, so it’s tough to realize I won’t. But I’ve been welcomed here, and others will be, and I think everything will be OK. We just have to give it time.”

One more adjustment she’ll have make? “It will be weird wearing blue (the Travellers wore red and gray uniforms).”

One of those helping the new students make the transition is VHS senior Angela Frisby, who happens to be a teammate of Arbogast’s on the Greyhound cheering squad as well as a student council member.

“Today was going to be hectic, that’s a given. But it’s gone pretty smoothly,” she said. “I don’t think there are going to be many problems.

“Everybody pretty much knows everybody (from Gauley) and has the potential to get along. I think the adults need to let their kids make their own opinions.”

Frisby feels she’s gotten a good education so far, and she hopes that added educational offerings will bolster that as she prepares for the post-secondary world. “If they can bring in more AP classes and give more opportunities, it would be better for everybody.”

Principal Ray Londeree said the school has already added Honors English at all levels and AP English Literature, as well as separating trigonometry and physics as individual classes instead of with others. Other changes will be made in the future, he added.

Due to awaiting the outcome of a court case involving the closure of GBHS and Montgomery Middle School, school officials are still getting furniture moved and schedules planned, then perfected, as the school year begins.

Friday, situations arose in which students were scheduled in classes they already had or teachers had too many students in a single class, as well as other glitches. But Londeree said late Friday morning he felt the day had gone as well as could be expected. “We’ve had a fairly smooth start with the high school students. The biggest majority of them have their schedules and are moving through them. I see students communicating. We’re just hustling through and making up for lost time.”

Superintendent Helen Whitehair was in the Valley to see for herself how the day went, both at VHS and Valley Elementary, which is next door. “Things have gone very smoothly,” said Whitehair. “Of course, we still have some things we need to work through.

“The teachers, principals and service personnel have been fantastic.”

“I’m amazed at how quickly things have pulled together,” said teacher Susan Ferrell.

While having to remind students to bear right when walking up crowded hallways during a class change, Whitehair also said it was good to see fuller classrooms. “It’s exciting to see kids here in classrooms with good numbers in them.”

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