Sister cities share holiday celebrations

Published 4:38 pm Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A steady flow of traffic journeyed from Pelham to Helena on the first Saturday of December to watch the Helena Christmas Parade.

Helena and Pelham have shared so much through the years that sharing holiday celebrations seems fitting as well. Just as the musicians, singers and ice skaters from Helena, come out to the Pelham Christmas tree lighting, many of Pelham’s dancers, twirlers and team members head to Helena to enjoy the Helena Christmas Parade each year.

Pelham High School’s marching band, including the dance team, color guard and majorettes, and the homecoming court and many other high school groups participate every year. As a Pelham resident, I grew up participating in the Helena Christmas parade and my daughters have as well. My son has been an avid observer and candy snatcher. I love that whenever I go into Helena, I feel so at home and so welcomed there.

Folks who have been around this area for years have a sincere appreciation for the partnership. After all, we’re raising kids together. Until this year, our kids came together as early as middle school. Now that Helena Middle School has opened, Pelham and Helena kids will not go to school together until their freshman year. When I asked my high school students for their thoughts, most couldn’t imagine not having all of the friends they made in middle school from both towns. Some worried that ninth grade might be more awkward. Junior Hannah Downs has a more optimistic attitude.

“I think that now when the kids meet each later, they will be able to get along even better,” Downs said. “In high school, we’re more accepting and more open to change.”

I still expect a spirit of camaraderie, not competitiveness, from the two sister cities.

As communities, we’ve joined forces many times to support our students as we were raising money, buying uniforms, transporting kids and chaperoning. What we’ve really shared is becoming a village and using our combined efforts and resources to give all of our kids the best that we can.

When my kids started school, my mom told me I would be close to those that I raised my children with. Of course, my mom is right — about me and about the two sister cities of Pelham and Helena.