PARIS — “Parents are nervous, students are excited,” Oxford Hills Middle School Principal Troy Eastman said Tuesday, a day before 299 or so seventh-grade students arrive at the door of the Pine Street school for the first day of classes.

The 272 eighth-grade students will start Friday, along with students in all elementary schools and grades 10, 11 and 12 at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris.

“ I tell them (the students) that in the end they won’t want to leave, but they have to transition (from the middle school to the high school). It’s truly the middle school,” Eastman said.

The principal has charge of ensuring the seventh-graders entering from eight communities feel comfortable. The key, he said, is communication and preparing the students.

Last week, the seventh-graders came to the school to meet each other.

“We tell them chances are their best friend is in their new school. Come to the middle school, get involved, enjoy your newfound independence, but remember it’s a large responsibility,” he said he advises them.

“Our theme is to get involved. We really push to get seventh-graders involved with school from beginning,” Eastman said. The school offers a variety of sports, including football, cheerleading and field hockey.

Positions for an art teacher and a language teacher have been filled by transfers from another schools in the district.

Eastman said class size will average about 23 students, which he termed  reasonable.

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