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Freshmen get taste of high schoolBy Regina Grayson

With school bells almost ready to ring, many ninth graders will be anxiously waiting to begin their high school careers.

On Wednes-day, July 27, Greenville High School hosted its Freshman Orientation Safari, which allowed students to tour the school and to meet their new teachers and administrators.

Greenville High School Principal Dr. Kathy Murphy welcomed an auditorium filled with parents and their children.

"I want to thank everyone for coming today.

We are so glad to see each of you," Dr. Murphy said.

She went on to introduce the special guests who were invited to welcome the students, beginning with Butler County's new superintendent, Michael Looney.

"I want you to know that I am available to you," Looney said. "I work for the students and parents of Butler County.

That is not to say, however, that you should bypass your teachers and administrators, who take the charge of your children very seriously."

Superintendent Looney encouraged the students to do their best.

"Your achievement and code of conduct should be number one on your list of priorities," Looney said.

"This is a time of preparation.

School is your job, and it should be taken seriously.

Your job as a student will be cashable in the future in the forms of success and achievement, and, ultimately, a good job that earns a paycheck.

I urge you to be very conscientious about your career at G.H.S. so you can cash your check in the future."

Next, G.H.S. Assistant Principal Mike Gunter addressed the group.

"Each year in May, students discover that they won't be graduating with their friends," Gunter said. "Everything you do this year will determine what you do in 2009.

Your goal should be to earn all of your credits, to pass the Alabama High School graduation exams and to be ready for graduation. You should also get involved in the clubs and organizations that are offered here.

Everything you do is ultimately for your benefit."

Gunter explained that he will handle the discipline for 9th and 11th grades, and Assistant Principal Joseph Dean will be in charge of 10th and 12th grades.

With that, Dean also welcomed students and parents to G.H.S., calling it "The Greenville Bank."

"You are investing your prize possession, your education, with us," Dean said.

"We take your dedication and perseverance and help you to become a productive and successful member of society.

Just remember that we'll be here to help you if you need us."

Dr. Murphy introduced Tomesha Cheeseboro, 11th and 12th grade counselor, to the group.

Patricia McNaughton serves as 9th and 10th grade counselor at the high school, also.

In attempting to alleviate some of the students' anxieties about facing a new school, Senior Class President Candace Sturgeon said, "I hope you have a wonderful time at Greenville High School.

Don't be afraid to ask any questions.

High school can be scary, but Dr. Murphy is my best friend.

Just remember that you should always love and respect yourself. If you give respect to others, you will find that it will come back to you."

Reminding the students that he had known them since sixth grade at Greenville Middle School, School Resource Officer Malcolm Owens encouraged the group to "focus on your responsibilities at all times."

"Be sure to know the rules of the code of conduct, participate in club activities, concentrate on your classroom studies and always complete your homework," Officer Owens said. "It's very important to avoid tardies and to respect the faculty and staff at all times.

Also, your behavior on the bus is just as important.

If you ever see something that is wrong, tell me or a faculty member immediately."

Officer Owens told the parents that not only would academics be important to their children, but also their attendance.

"We need you to help us with attendance," Owens said.

"It is your responsibility to see that your child attends school and arrives on time.

These next four years are critical in your child's life."

In addition to attendance and grades, all students in Butler County will be required to follow the new dress code that was adopted by the Board of Education.

"We have one of our students to model the new school uniform for us today," Murphy said. "The shirts will be white or navy, and the pants must be in navy or khaki.

All shirts must be tucked in, and no flip-flops are allowed at any time.

Our young men need to know that no caps or hats are allowed inside the building."

"Greenville High School is a $17 million project," Murphy continued. "We are very fortunate and blessed to have this site, and we ask you, our new students, to help us take care of this building."

Dr. Murphy informed the audience that tradition shows that 49% of discipline problems come from the 9th grade class.

"We expect you to be respectful to others and to work hard," Murphy said. "Let's break that cycle of discipline problems this year.

I think of you as my children, too. Welcome to Greenville High School, and let's have a great year."