Archived Story

Off to a stupendous start

Published 10:07am Friday, August 23, 2013

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

On Sunday evening before the first day, I arrived at PHS to drop off supplies and found my friends Al and Marion Sanders walking outside the school.

“Come over here with us,” Al Sanders shouted. “We’re praying for the first day of school. We’re praying for the kids and the teachers.”

Marion Sanders said, “We’re praying for everybody.”

Debbie Adams does her part to keep the PHS office running smoothly as more than 1,900 students fill the school on the first day. (Contributed)
Debbie Adams does her part to keep the PHS office running smoothly as more than 1,900 students fill the school on the first day. (Contributed)

My friends told me that their Sunday school class from First Baptist Alabaster was praying along with Pelham First Baptist and Westwood Baptist. I was overwhelmed by their generosity of time and spirit. Al Sanders asked me to pray with them. I prayed for the freshmen to find their friends at lunch.

Sanders told me that Brett and Rebecca Burnett were on campus praying, and I saw Kelly and Harper Whitman doing the same. I felt the power of those prayers as the first day came rushing to greet me. My own freshman daughter said, “School is different with so many people in the building.”

My creative writers gave me their descriptions. Senior Zach Powell delighted me with his word, “sanctuary” and a poem about individuality. He labeled Creative Writing as “a place which is safe and inviting to all.”

Freshman Bethany Leader chose the words confusing and welcome. Confused by Pelham High School’s many stairwells and corridors, Leader said, “Through all of the confusion and stress, I felt wanted and at home.”

Senior Haley Giffin spoke of success declaring her plan “to work hard so that I can meet my goals.”

Junior Maddie Crain summed up the essence of her first day with a unique choice. “Heady . . . the air, the confidence, the feel of a fresh slate,” Crain said.

Other students contributed an array of amazing words. Kathleen Owens choice was the word lovely.

“Lovely gives a new dimension to the root word love by adding a level of grace and seriousness,” Owens said. “The biggest compliment you can be given is to be called lovely.”

My first days were lovely. My students are lovely. At PHS, we’re off to a stupendous start.

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