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School starts in Ceres
Summer officially ends Sept. 21 but as far as Ceres students are concerned, summer is over today with the start of the 2012-13 school year.

Students at both Ceres High School and Central Valley High School had a chance last week to pick up schedules and books, buy student body cards, and pose for student photos at registration days held at both campuses. Some students, like Ceres High School junior George Romo, acknowledged that summer felt way too short but that the new school year is being cheerfully embraced.

"Summer went by real fast," said Romo. "I'm shocked I'm a junior already. It feels like yesterday I was a freshman."

CHS is starting with approximately 1,400 students with a large incoming class while Central Valley High School has a little over 1,700 students. There is more breathing room at CVHS with the opening of the new 16-classroom "B" wing which offers new science and computer labs. Principal Amy Peterman said that the wing places all Spanish teachers together "to collaborate a little more easy." The wing also gives P.E. teachers a classroom for indoor instruction and a new exclusive classroom for the Leadership class and Leadership teacher office.

"Last year we had lots of teachers sharing classrooms with each other and so we're now able to give every teacher their own classroom, which is really nice," said Peterman.

Things also look different at the CVHS campus because of construction of Walt Hanline Elementary School taking place immediately adjacent. The exit and bus lanes have been shifted slightly to accommodate for parking at the elementary campus.

"I'm anticipating it going smoothly," said Peterman. "They've been great about informing us when they have to close down certain lanes of traffic or entrances and exits so it's actually gone very smoothly."

CVHS has four new teachers this year to replace teachers who left. Also new is learning director Alfonso Navarro who left Walter White School as a teacher.

On Wednesday Ceres High School held registration/orientation sessions for seniors, juniors and sophomores from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Freshmen attended between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday at the Student Center. They picked up class schedules and textbooks, and took photos for ASB cards.

"I'm excited for the ROP Police Procedures class," senior Angelica Knights said before exiting the library. "It should be fun."

Added CHS junior Mikayla Whatley: "I'm looking forward to meeting people and doing new things."

CHS added four new teachers for the 2012-13 school year, including Anthony Gerads (biology), Patricia Byers (math), Kristen Pallas (band director) and Rich Ruiz (student support services).

This year Ceres High expanded its Manufacturing Academy.

"This will be the first time classes will be offered to ninth-graders," Principal Linda Stubbs said. "We received a grant. Before, it was only for students in grades 10-12."

The Bulldog Buddies mentoring program, which pairs upperclassmen with freshmen, was established 18 months ago.

"We have a very good sense of community," said Stubbs.

Ceres High will have a freshman class size of 463.

"The energy level was so high during orientation," she said. "The kids dressed up and played games with their ambassadors."

Ceres High employees attended a leadership meeting, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., last week.

"The amount of dedication from the teachers is incredible," Stubbs said. "Our theme for this year is 'It's a great day to be a Bulldog.'"

On a very hot Thursday - temperatures reached 104 degrees - CVHS students turned out to pick up schedules and books. Many teachers volunteered to help out along with Leadership students.

Also on hand was city of Ceres employee Kay Dunkel to inform students about changes to the city's fixed route bus system - Ceres Area Transit (CAT) - to better accommodate high schoolers needing rides. The CAT bus arrives at CVHS on route D at 7:41 a.m. and picks up at 2:53 p.m. At Ceres High School it drops off at 7:54 a.m. and picks up at 3:06 p.m. Fares are $2 per ride. Dial-A-Ride services is also available.