First day hopes and jitters in Eagle County |

First day hopes and jitters in Eagle County

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS School starts 1 KA 08-30-10

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Heading into his first day at Berry Creek Middle School, Klaudio Rodas-Bodner found himself in denial.

“I felt like I was still in elementary school until I looked back and actually realized I was wearing a uniform,” the sixth grader said.

Looking down, he considered the purple T-shirt with the “Berry Creek wildcats” logo a symbol of his transition from elementary school to all that lies beyond. His former school, June Creek Elementary, stood just across the street yet seemed a world away.

“I’m seeing a lot of new people,” he said. “I feel really small being here in such a big school.”

Monday marked the first day of school for most of the Eagle County School District’s middle and high schools.

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For students, the day brought high hopes – and plenty of angst.

Brisa Perez, 11, was so nervous about her first day at Berry Creek, she couldn’t finish her breakfast empanada.

“I was feeling butterflies in my stomach,” she said.

Midway through her first day of sixth grade, though, the 11-year-old sounded optimistic.

She had been worried about getting lost in the hallways, but a friend helped her find her classes. Although Perez had struggled with her locker combination, she thought her teachers seemed nice.

“I’m looking forward to getting good grades,” she said.

Sitting with her friends at the lunch table inside Battle Mountain High School, freshman Gladys Villa reflected on her day.

“It’s just awkward, the first day, you know?” she said. “You don’t really know what’s going on. When you walk around the hallway, people look at you and they’re like, ‘Ah, there’s the freshman.'”

Villa said the school building struck her as huge compared to Berry Creek Middle School. Although she was a little worried about navigating the hallways, she had been lost just once, on her way to algebra.

She’s determined to end the year with a 3.5 grade point average or higher.

“I think my classes are going to be challenging and a good level for me,” she said.

Several freshman see high school as an opportunity to branch out socially.

Wayne Schultheis, 14, said he looks forward to friends from the various middle schools coming together.

“It’s good because all my friends are in the same school now,” he said.

Schultheis suspects his classes could be kind of hard. He’s taking a full course load including Advanced Placement human geography.

“My Spanish teacher seems really cool, so it will be fun,” he said.

Schultheis said he’s planning to try out for the hockey team.

“I have been playing hockey all my life, and I’ve been excited to play for the high school,” he said.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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