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East Ridge students settling in

From left are Emily Scovill, Megan Plourde, Sarah Ringgenberg and Jessie Lepel. The 10th-graders are eating lunch together in the East Ridge cafeteria space that, when cleared of lunch tables, becomes a public space for gatherings after school hours. Staff photo by Judy Spooner.

At the start of this school year at East Ridge High School, everyone is in the same boat because everyone is new, 10th-grader Emily Scovill said during lunch.

East Ridge students say they agree on a few things about the school: it's very big, there are fewer people than in the junior high schools they attended last year and they "have to run" to get to some classes, said student Megan Plourde.

For the first time since Woodbury opened in 1975, students from Woodbury and Cottage Grove are in the same high school along with kids from Newport.

Plourde, of Woodbury, said kids from other communities are not different from those she went to school with last year at Lake Junior High School.

Scovill said teachers are very supportive of kids who are getting used to a new school. They, too, are adjusting to new classrooms and computers, she said.

"In order to get used to a new school you have to have a good attitude," said student Jessie Lepel.

Lepel, who participates in sports, wondered whether she should wear clothes to school that are Woodbury royal blue. She decided on her own that she would wear them "because I live here."

She has a new East Ridge letter jacket, however, and has moved her Woodbury honors to the new one.

Sarah Ringgenberg, however, is choosing to keep her Woodbury letter jacket and add any East Ridge honors that she earns.

Students are allowed to choose which jackets they wear, according to Principal Aaron Harper.

Plourde, Scovill, Ringgenberg and Lepel have made new friends since school opened, including kids from other communities.

"You can still see your friends from your other school," said Alysa Winn.

Courtney Pampuch said she does not like the new later school start time of 8:25 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. "When you get out earlier, you have more time with your friends," she said.

Dani Griesgraber, Maddie Jarrett, Rachel Hawn and Hannah Jeries, ninth-graders, would still prefer to attend Woodbury High School over East Ridge, they said.

Griesgraber said some of her East Ridge classes are easier than she expected them to be.

Student Thomas Wermers was at Hill-Murray High School last year.

"East Ridge is fantastic!" he said, adding that he left the private school because going to a new school is a "good opportunity."

Everyone going to East Ridge heard lots of rumors, Wermers said, including that student lockers would open only with fingerprint identification. Most rumors, including the locker tale, were not true, he said.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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