First day of school earns A+

McKenzie Akins watches as Megan Calvert, both second graders at Helena Elementary, prepares her lunch for eating on the first day of school August 12. Helena Elementary is one of a number of county schools that received a gold award of distinction from the USDA for its healthy lunches. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

At about 2:15 p.m. Aug. 12, Thompson Middle School Principal Melissa Youngblood stopped for a moment, took a deep breath and took an opportunity to review the events of a day many teachers and students had been anticipating for months.

“Everything is so quiet and relaxed now,” Youngblood laughed. “We had 920 seventh- and eighth-graders enroll in our school this year, so there are a lot of kids here today.

“Today has actually been going very smoothly,” she added. “We followed our game plan, and everything has been working out great.”

Aug. 12 marked the first day of classes for students in the Shelby County School District, and many relieved teachers and administrators at Alabaster’s six public schools reported few problems kicking off the 2010-2011 year.

“It’s been going great here,” said Thompson Sixth-Grade Center Principal Brent Tolbert. “Sixth grade is a transition for the kids, because they start changing classes every class.

“They’ve been doing great today getting through the halls and finding their classes.”

A short drive away from the Sixth-Grade Center, Thompson High School Principal Robin Thomas reported hallways filled with students excited about reuniting with friends and at least momentarily looking forward to learning.

“It’s the first day, so the students are still really excited about getting back into the classroom. Of course if you give me a call Monday, that feeling may have worn off a little bit,” Thomas laughed.

“But, knock on wood, we haven’t really had any problems today,” Thomas added. “Even lunch went well. We didn’t have to move anyone from a lunch table, which is great.”

Some teachers and students were affected by an early morning wreck involving two semi trucks and another vehicle near the Valleydale Road exit on Interstate 65 in Pelham, but Alabaster’s schools were not as affected as their Pelham and Hoover counterparts, Thomas said.

“I know there was a wreck this morning on 65, so that affected some of our parents and teachers,” Thomas said. “But we still started at 7:45 this morning, and everything has been running smoothly.”

Creek View Elementary School began the year with one of its largest student bodies yet, said Principal Joyce Dixon.

“We had probably 20 or 25 students register today, so we are getting up there,” Dixon laughed. “We could very well have more than 1,000 students, because I think we had 982 registered when we left yesterday.

“But it has really been wonderful here today,” Dixon added. “All the parents were very patient, and the students have all been great.”