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LEMOORE — West Hills College Lemoore students started classes Friday.

While students walked to the student union to get new identification pictures taken and looked for their classes, WHCL President Dr. Kristin Clark stood in the center of campus available to answer questions for any student.

Clark said that she and other staff members were wearing buttons that said: “Ask me. I can help.”

“We know that students are sometimes afraid to ask questions,” Clark said.

Clark said that she remembers her first day of college being nerve-wracking.

“We are around answering questions because we know college for new students is so different from high school,” Clark said. “We just want to make sure that no student thinks that they can’t do it.”

She said the constant pursuit of student success is the reason for the buttons and many of the new programs like the Open Educational Resources program where in 30 percent of the classes students do not need to buy textbooks.

Waiting outside of her second class of the day, Sanjuana Barajas hung out with her cousin Jacquelyn Meza.

Barajas graduated from Hanford West High School in May. She said that her teachers in high school helped prepare her for what was to come in terms of obtaining financial aid and knowing how to best study for classes.

The one thing she was worried about was meeting new people and the struggles of being a new student in college.

Barajas said that her first day was pretty calm. Meza, who has attended West Hills Lemoore for two years, remembered her first day. She said she was nervous and turned around a bit but that her family helped her through it.

“I actually got lost getting to class. I had to call my cousin who was in class and she helped direct me to where I needed to go,” Meza said.

Barajas said her cousin’s experience was why she came to school on Thursday to figure out where all her classes were so she wouldn’t get lost.

Jameson Birrell and Jay Thomas, who teach statistics and algebra respectively, began their classes with what students needed to know to do well in their mathematics classes.

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Birrell went through many of the vocabulary words for the student’s first reading by relating them to examples relative to the students like how much to spend on a car or who is new to West Hills.

“Everything I am saying right now are things you are going to be reading in chapter one,” Birrell said.

Thomas, while going through the necessary materials, shared a story with students about how important it is not to be afraid of him.

Thomas said he learned from a previous student that teachers and students need to actively work to stay in communication.

On a side note, Clark said new students, staff and programs won’t be the only new things on campus. She said that the campus is expected to have Starbucks coffee in the next month in the student union.

“Students are really excited about that,” Clark said.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or chelsea.shannon@lee.net.

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