Back to School in Shelby County

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2005

As schools across Shelby County welcome students back today for the new academic year, nervous freshmen will join the upperclassmen for their first day of high school classes.

The freshmen at Pelham High School have already put their worries aside, however, following an unprecedented five-hour long orientation day known as &uot;Camp Pelham&uot; last Friday.

The program, which was created by Pelham math teacher Betty Shivers, shows incoming freshmen &uot;the ropes&uot; before classes actually begin.

Pelham principle Bob Lavett said the program helps give freshmen a jumpstart entering the often intimidating world of high school.

&uot;(Camp Pelham’s) an awesome thing,&uot; he said. &uot;It really helps our freshmen take a big step forward in entering high school.&uot;

This year’s class at Pelham shows signs of being one of the largest in the school’s history with almost 400 freshmen registered for classes as of Monday.

The freshmen who attended Camp Pelham were sent through a number of stations that gave them a chance to do everything from meeting the principals to learning about extracurricular activities offered at the school.

One station taught the students the Pelham High alma mater, while another station taught the freshmen about the importance of being organized.

Lavett said the program is not only beneficial to the students but also to the school’s administration.

&uot;This program gets us up and running quicker from an operations standpoint,&uot; he said.

&uot;It eliminates a lot of the usual questions that come up with freshmen during their first days at school. This makes their first day of school seem like their 10th.&uot;

The orientation day ended with a pep rally in the school gym that featured appearances by Pelham Mayor Bobby Hayes, the Pelham High cheerleaders and the high school pep band.

In a speech to the incoming class, Mayor Hayes expressed how important it was for the students to stay in school and focus on their studies.

Many students who attended the session said they thought it would help them a lot in their first few days at Pelham High.

&uot;I feel a lot less nervous than I did a week ago,&uot; one student said.

&uot;I think I’ll be ready for the first day now.&uot;