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Jerome Cooney, right, raises his hand so he can share what he thinks will happen in the new millennium as kindergarten classmate Cameron Bodwell looks on.

The following article originally appeared in the Saturday, Jan. 1, 2000, edition of the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

In Kathleen Wickman's all-day kindergarten class, there are lots of millennium experts.

They just have a little trouble spelling a word that big.

"M-I-I ... uh, N (pause) E-U-M," sounded out Molly Turner.

"We all have been waiting for it," Molly said as her classmates nodded in agreement.

The turn of the century and the beginning of the new millennium wasn't much to worry about for 6-year-olds in December. These kids weren't building shelters, emptying bank accounts or stocking up on food and supplies.

That's one reason Wickman likes her job as a kindergarten teacher.

"They think of all the good stuff," Wickman said.

As her students sat cross-legged on a carpeted corner at Mountain View Elementary School one early December day, they shared some of their thoughts about Y2K and what might or might not happen on New Years Eve.

"It's the ... the new big change," Cameron Bodwell told his classmates. But he wasn't sure what was changing.

Laurel Reid knew about the millennium.

"It's the year 2000," said Laurel in a matter-of-fact tone.

These kids had some pretty big plans to celebrate the New Year, and quite a few said their parents might let them stay up extra late.

"I get to stay up to midnight," said Liza Yeager, "and I'm going to make a lot of noise."

"I'm going to jump into the new world," said Jerome Cooney.

Antoni Kristofferson isn't waiting until the morning after to tidy up. Her New Year's Eve plans include a little homework.

"I'm going to do everything," Antoni said. "Like clean my room, 'cause it's really messy."

Amid the plans of celebration, there was a ripple of worry.

Ian Morrell's dad told him there might be a power outage.

Jamal McGinty thinks someone would have to push a button to cause the lights to go out.

Jerika Mutschler also suspected foul play in any Y2K problem.

"I think a burglar has a ladder and climbs up and cuts the wires," Jerika said.

Jason Flint will be ready if the power goes off.

"My good idea is if you had a helmet with a flashlight and if the lights never came back on you could put more batteries in hit," Jason said.

But Michael Klautzsch was too optimistic to think they lights would go out.

"I think," he said, "the lights will get brighter."


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