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New Public High School Opens To First Freshman Class

About 100 public school students started their first day of classes a day or so earlier than everyone else. The brand new Metro High School welcomed its first freshman class Monday. The new school focuses on science, math, technology and engineering.

As part of an ice-breaker activity, the first group of freshmen at Metro High School played a game of human bingo.

The kids asked each other questions listed on a piece of paper, like a bingo card. Who ever filled up their card first won a $30 gift card to Barnes and Noble.

But bingo playing is not part of the course work. Their schedules are rigorous. They have two hours every day of math and language arts. They also take Spanish and science during the week. By the end of the year they'll have earned nine credits. That's a year-and-a-half worth of work in a typical school.

But these students don't seem to mind the demanding schedule. 14-year-old Dustin Smith hopes the environment at Metro will help him stay focused on his academic goal of getting into college.

"Our schools in our neighborhoods, they have too many problems. I live right across the street from Linden-McKinley, and right in our front yard there was a shooting. So I decided I wasn't going there because of the violence over there," Smith said.

And Smith already knows what he wants to study when he goes to college.

"I love math. I love to use numbers. And technology is always something I wanted to do, like, putting together computers and things of that nature," Smith said.

Smith is not the exception at Metro High School. If asked, most students have an answer to what they want to be when they grow up.

"I wanted to be a pediatrician when I grow up," Nasrin said.

Zakia Nasrin is also 14 years old. Nasrin said she hopes the teaching strategies at Metro will be different from other public schools she's attended.

"Most of the time other teachers just get us ready for tests and stuff. But I believe teachers at this school will not only get us ready for tests, but for our future and our careers and where we want to go in life," Nasrin said.

While most Metro students are comparing their new school to their old, Alissa Heveron, is just glad to be around other students. With the exception of fifth grade, 14-year-old Heveron, has been home-schooled her entire life. She commented about the diversity of her classmates.

"It's really cool, just like, to see all the people, like, hanging out together, and not really thinking about what's going on. It's a lot of fun," Heveron said.

Heveron enjoys playing sports. It even played a large roll in her choosing Metro High.

"Ever since I was little, I've liked playing sports. My brothers played sports all the time. So I wanted to be like a sports scientist or sports therapy. So I knew it involved a lot of science," Heveron said.

While this school is a change for the students. It's different for the teachers as well. The students even look different. Instead of uniforms or casual wear, students chose professional wear.

Math teacher, Lisa Floyd-Jefferson, said her students are the most dynamic group she's ever taught.

"It's going to be real exciting. They know that they have some experiences that are in store for them that are different from a lot of the other students in the district, in the county! And they're ready for it. They're pumped up. They're pretty excited," Floyd-Jefferson said.

Before being admitted, students had to fill out a formal application and go through a couple of interviews. Metro staff and members of the school's partners, Battelle and Ohio State University, chose the students.

Floyd-Jefferson said Metro High School is a model for all public schools. But she said unless a school of this kind is built from the ground up, it's hard to get everyone on board.

"You really have to start from scratch. And you really have to bring in people who believe in what you're trying to do. You can't do something of this magnitude and have people on the staff that believe it's not going to work," Floyd-Jefferson said.

The school has students from 14 Franklin County districts. Most school districts have chosen to use state funding to pay the almost $6,000 a year tuition. For districts that do not, the parents have pick up or pay part of the bill.