Students and faculty all surprised by first look at new school
It was almost like Christmas morning Tuesday as students got their first look at the new Southern Heights Elementary School in Hobbs.
There was a palpable sense of excitement among the kids gathered in the classrooms at the old school for the last time for the first bell of the day.
After breakfast in the cafeteria, they paused to recite both the United States and New Mexico Pledges of Allegiance. The students and their teachers — who had worked on Indigenous People’s Day on Monday, setting up their new classrooms — gathered up school supplies and a few remaining personal belongings for the short walk to their new digs.
The students appeared to be in awe as they entered the building for the first time.
Eyes wandered over freshly-painted walls, murals and other shiny new fixtures.
There were more than a few squeals of joy and other utterances of surprise and happiness as the kids set their bags down and started putting their things away.
“It’s good,” said third-grader Michael Granodos, 9, who added he was excited when he walked into the building for the first time.
“I like the new projectors” in the classrooms, he said. “In the new school they go up and down by themselves.”
Everything is new — from technology to students desks.
Fellow third-grader Mariah Alvarado, 8, said she likes the shape of the new desks in their classroom.
“They’re different,” she said. “Our old desks were square.”
“I like it because if you separate the desks, it makes two trapezoids,” Dallan Laws, 8, piped in.
Third-grade teacher Celia Burrows said there’s still some work to do arranging the desks. But the students appreciate having their own storage cubbies for their books and papers
“The kids seem very happy,” she said. “They’re excited because it’s so fresh and new.”
Even as the first classes got underway Tuesday morning, workers were still putting the finishing touches on some areas, moving in new technology and checking to be sure everything was in good working order.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful. It’s nice,” said third-grade teacher Michael Lujan. “But it’s not quite ready yet. But we like it.”
And there were a few surprises, which is pretty much standard with the first days of any new building, including a surprise fire alarm late in the day.
“And we had some experiences with the new cafeteria,” Principal Diana Salinas told the News-Sun. “There was a little traffic jam transitioning kids into the cafeteria and out of the cafeteria. We’re just going to have to make some minor adjustments.”
This is the first time in years students and faculty have moved into a new school. The transition Tuesday morning went smoothly, though, Salinas said, with everything — and every one — getting to where they needed to be.
The new building “is so modern and updated,” she said. “With the kids, you can just hear the excitement. And teachers and staff too. Everyone is just so excited.
Fifth grader Ian Martinez, 10, said he’s interested in all the new technology in the school. It’s like starting school all over again.
“Our new classroom, I love it,” he said. “Our new textbooks are really cool.
“But its the new gym. It’s the best.”