Adjustments come with a new year

Freshman Preston Chambliss and PHS Registrar Marylou Russell celebrate Camp Pelham as they prepare for school to start. (contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“If it helps school start in the new addition, aren’t you willing to park far away?” my 13-year-old asked.

When my kids — whether they’re my womb kids (the ones I gave birth to), or my room kids (the ones I teach) — speak truths like this question from my daughter, I realize God is a funny guy.

Sure, I’m the teacher and the adult, but complaining about giving up good parking temporarily was my contribution to dinner conversation. My daughter’s innocent question is simply answered.

I’d be willing to anchor a canoe on a lake and complete a triathlon before every teacher workday to insure Pelham High School’s new building is ready when students arrive for their first day of school on Monday, Aug. 20.

Pelham High School’s new wing offers much-needed relief. Problems with the original construction company caused the project’s completion to be delayed for many months. Last year, PHS felt the stress of crowding. In May, we graduated a class of fewer than 400. The incoming freshman class has more than 500 students.

The need for more space prompted Principal Bob Lavett to say, “There is no plan B. We must occupy our addition before the school year begins.”

Excitement about the addition has built all summer. Boxes are packed. Furniture is being delivered.

Teachers, administrators and students are ready.

Camp Pelham prepped the class of 2016 and their parents to join the PHS community. While freshmen visited teachers, received information and found their classes, freshman parents also met with teachers, other parents and recent PHS graduate Catherine Schmidt. Parent volunteer Wendy Rosenstiel cautioned the freshmen parents, “You’ll parent like you’ve never parented before.”

Coming together as a school community each fall is exciting-and challenging. While most of us have enjoyed time at home with plenty of space and privacy, as school starts, we sacrifice some comfort. We’ll deal with traffic, stand in line and hike after parking. The opportunity to learn from each other and to thrive in a place of intellectual energy is an irresistible reward. Becoming our best is worth the effort.


Connie Nolen can be reached by email at