We are Pelham

Lately, my senior students seem to be already off to college.

I want to shout, “Come back! Come back! You can’t leave yet.”

Physically they’re sitting right in front of me, but mentally many of them are passing the Mercedes plant on I–59 as they’re Bama bound or traveling through Childersburg on Highway 280 headed towards the Plains.

In April, senior PHS Pantherette Morgan Vice faced stiff competition to earn one of only 16 spots on the University of Alabama’s prestigious dance team, the Crimson Cabaret.

“We have camp in June and I’ll be learning routines and staying with the dancers who are living in Tuscaloosa for the summer,” Vice said.

Morgan tried out on the day of her senior prom, so her prom experience was a celebration of her high school memories and making her college dance team. Morgan takes the skills she’s perfected as captain of the Pelham Pantherettes to the Crimson Cabaret.

Senior writer and publications designer Emma Valenti plans to join the University of Montevallo’s literary magazine staff. One of the winners of Montevallo’s Jim Harrell Poetry Scholarship, Emma hopes to work on campus in the publications’ offices using the design skills she’s learned in high school. Emma credits her freshman English teacher, Rebecca Burnett, for inspiring her.

“Mrs. Burnett evoked my own passion for creative writing and helped me to embrace it. She inspired me to want to be an English teacher one day too,” Valenti said.

Senior artist, writer and publications designer Emily Sarvis–Hill realized her high school activities had earned her a spot with UA publications in February, while she was attending a publications convention at the university.

“The leadership skills I’ve gained as art club president and literary magazine editor will help me find my place in college,” Sarvis–Hill said.

Facing graduation is exciting; it’s also scary. Most seniors need reassurance that they’ve made the right decisions about their future. Because I’m a Pelham graduate and teacher, I’m privileged to give that confirmation.

I tell them, “When you encounter hurdles or feel hesitant, remember you are prepared and have what it takes. And when you excel — and you will excel — know you are Pelham and your community is incredibly proud of you. Do well in the world and come back to see us. We’ll be here cheering for you — because we are Pelham too.”