HHS welcomes new year and new building

Helena High School students catch up with friends and fill their new lockers on the Aug. 7 first day of school. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

Helena High School students catch up with friends and fill their new lockers on the Aug. 7 first day of school. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HELENA—Students excitedly roamed the halls of Helena High School, reuniting with new friends, filling their lockers, finding their classrooms and getting to know their new 220,000-square-foot school facility on the Aug. 7 first day of school.

“I think over all it’s gone very smoothly,” HHS Secretary Claire Cook said of the first day drop-off routine. “We had a plan in place and it’s all gone according to plan. That’s what you want.”

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller agreed, praising the “collaboration with the Helena Police Department” and the City of Helena for getting school off to a good start.

“They have a plan, the faculty, staff, Jay Peoples,” Fuller said. “They had a wonderful plan, and it went very smoothly this morning.”

Shelby County Schools traditionally start on a Thursday, allowing students and teachers to “get to know each other” and “to get into a routine” before a full week of academic work, SCS Community Education and Public Relations Supervisor Cindy Warner explained.

“It’s great for the kids to have some time to transition, get used to the building, get to know their teachers and get ready for a full week of instruction,” HHS special education teacher Mendy Adams said.

For students and faculty at HHS, this time is especially important as they all adjust to a new facility.

“I’m confused, it’s chaos, but we’ll get used to it,” HHS junior Anna Marie Smith said, but she stressed that she liked the new building. “It’s very nice, I like it a lot,” she said.

“The hallways are very wide, I haven’t had a traffic jam yet,” HHS junior Daniel Moore said in praise of the new building.

Teachers had been allowed to move into the new school in “the beginning of July,” and were excited to see students in the school on Aug. 7, Adams said.

“This is fabulous, we’re so excited to have students in these halls. There’s a lot of excitement and a lot of pride,” Adams said. “I have watched this building come up from the dirt. I can’t believe (the first day of school) is finally here.”