Chef Susan Irby, author of “Substitute Yourself Skinny,” will be at the Central Library at 7 p.m. Sept. 21. (CdM Today / August 28, 2010)

There's two weeks left of summer vacation, but some new students and their families are already fed up with Corona del Mar Middle School after spending hours in line for Monday's registration.

"This is terrible," said Nicci Araujo, who had waited more than two hours to register her son, Alex. "I work for a living. I think it is so inappropriate to be this inconsiderate. I'm just livid."

Parent Steve MacGilfrey, who was with his daughter Scarlet, said he also waited more than two hours. "I'm a single parent, so I can't leave her," he said. "Who is going to give me a half a day's pay to make up for my time?"

Parents had to bring their students with them for registration, along with packets they previously picked up at the school and took home to complete. After waiting in line at a table to register for the PTA and another where students received their schedules and locker numbers, parents and students then went to another line that snaked around several buildings toward a cashier's station, where two district employees took money to cover gym clothes, locks, lab fees and other items.

Rumors spread like wildfire as the noon hour approached and the line for the checkout grew longer. Would they close for an hour or more for lunch? Should people return in the afternoon or the next day? While parents and students said they were frustrated, they also spent the time catching up and visiting and comparing class schedules.

Some people opted to leave and return in the afternoon or early Tuesday to complete the process, but most of the group stuck it out. In the end, the lines didn't close but did go to one cashier at a time so employees could have a break after working nonstop all morning.

In the afternoon, a few older students cut in line and were being served ahead of those who waited for as long as four hours. Parents had to get involved to make them move, one witness said.

"I'm sure school will be fine — but what a way to start it off," said Alex Araujo, who was on crutches for most of the long wait.

Parent and PTA member Holly Schuman said that the lines were longer than she had experienced with her older daughter.

"This is just a nightmare," she said. "This is the worst I've seen it."

Some attributed the long lines to a large incoming class of more than 400 students, one of the larger seventh-grade classes the school has had recently. Schuman said that the district required its staff to handle the money, so parent volunteers were not able to help after the first few tables.

"This needs to be online next year," said Gary Almquist, the high school's ASB director.

Corona del Mar High School Principal Tim Bryan used the school's all-call system to send a message to parents Wednesday night, apologizing for delays during this week's registration process.

"We are grateful for the patience our families displayed," he said, vowing that the system will be changed in the future.

The first day of school is Sept. 7.


New Students Attend Seaweed Camp

Seventh-graders got their first taste of middle school life Friday at the annual Seaweed Camp, which incorporates tours, games, food and swimming to help students learn about middle school life.

The event began in the gymnasium with two routines performed by the middle school cheer squad, then a question-and-answer session with students and parents. School Principal Guy Olguin then led parents on a tour of the school.