The large number of textbooks that Aiken High School students were picking up on Monday might have been unheard of by their grandparents in their day and even by some of their parents.


The books included Anatomy and Physiology, College Physics, Oceanography, Modern Chemistry, Business Early Law, Personal Law, Foundation of Electric Circuits and many more.


“Life has changed,” said science teacher Edna Mills. “We have to have offerings to make our children challenged.”


Registration is under way throughout the Aiken County School District, along with the textbooks that come with it. At Aiken High, student volunteers had previously helped move the books into the gymnasium and were handing them out, too. Senior Roneshia Summers was among them.


“Why did they tell me that four years is such a long time?” she said and added with a grin, “I just wish the people who used to give me books were as nice as I am. With them, it was ‘Here, take this.’”


Machi Provost can’t wait for his senior year to start. He’s “hyped up about his psychology class, where he can learn more how the mind works with all its complexities.”


In recent months, the aging Aiken High has gotten a lot of attention from people who want to see a rebuilt school in as quickly as 10 years. The new science building was completed in 2013, and that was a really big deal, Provost said.


“I’d like to give donations through the years to help out,” he said. “I want the kids coming behind me to have something special, but I love the school overall. It’s still my school.”


English teacher Emily Geyer is among the faculty members who will participate in the high school’s new Freshman Academy.


“We’ve set up teachers as a way to target the freshmen and support them,” Geyer said.


“We’ll have a common planning period, and we’ll work together to get the freshmen where they need to be.”


We want to improve graduation rates, too. This is a wise move on the part of our administrators.”


Mabry McGregor, a new art teacher at the school, was taking art classes there a few years ago.


“It’s funny being on the other side, but it’s familiar,” she said. “It’s new and different at the same time.”


Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard’s education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001.