JAY — The halls of Spruce Mountain High School were bustling in a sort of organized chaos as 515 students began a new school year Wednesday.

This is the first time that all RSU 73 high school students have been at one site.

When the Regional School Unit was formed, Livermore and Livermore Falls high school students attended the former Livermore Falls High School and Jay students were at the former Jay High School. Earlier this year,

“The kids were phenomenal,” Principal T.J. Plourde said. “The faculty and student excitement was beyond my expectations. They have set the foundation to be the best school in the state.”

Most of the students felt a sense of exhilaration, as well.

“I like it. I’m a people person and looking forward to meeting the other kids,” senior Lucas Preble of Jay said.

Shelby Bryant, a senior from the former Livermore Falls school, was seated at a table with other students.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “This gives us an opportunity to be the first class to graduate together. We’re starting a new history.”

Adam Wilcox, one of those sharing the cafeteria table, discovered how much more crowded the halls are with all the students together.

“The biggest thing is all the new teachers and all the new students,” he said.

His twin brother, Andrew, said being at the Jay school with all the students was certainly different.

“But I feel that after a while, we’ll blend in together,” he said.

Amber White, a junior from Jay, said she found Wednesday hectic, but fun.

“The principal set up a scavenger hunt so students could meet their teachers around the school. Things went well for a doubling of students,” she said. “It will smooth out over time. With both campuses, it’s a little crazy, with lots of body heat.”

Plourde said the scavenger hunt was devised by the Culture Committee and faculty, which also organized the afternoon’s barbecue for parents, students and other community members. He said 13 area businesses donated $3,200 for the barbecue and white Spruce Mountain High School T-shirts for the students, and gray T-shirts for staff.

Plourde was particularly grateful to the custodians for the extra work they did to before opening day, and for Hardy Pond Construction for virtually all of the renovation work.

The only glitch during the day prompted a laugh by students during the welcome assembly.

Plourde said the power went off when a breaker went out as he began his welcoming speech. But a few minutes later, everything was back to normal. After the scavenger hunt, students went through shortened versions of each of their classes.

Senior LaDesta Tracy said the first day was a little overwhelming.

“But it wasn’t too bad. I like being here, but it’s different being with so many students,” she said.

Parent Terry Young of Livermore Falls said she is pleased that all high school students are under one roof.

“I love it. I have children who went to Livermore Falls and step-children who go to Jay. Now that they are together, it’s way easier,” she said.

The $1.8 million renovation project for the Jay high school, Spruce Mountain Middle School and Jay Community Center is nearing completion.


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