PCS starts first day of first year

Valley Elementary School kindergarten student Stephen Jacks said bye to his mother before heading off to his first day of school on Aug. 7. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Valley Elementary School kindergarten student Stephen Jacks said bye to his mother before heading off to his first day of school on Aug. 7. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Camera flashes, excited chatter and a few tears from parents filled the hallways of Valley Elementary School as students were dropped off for their first day of school on Aug. 7.

“Mommy, I just want to kiss you again,” kindergartener Stephen Jacks said to his mother before heading off to Ms. Lightfoot’s classroom, armed with his “blankie” and brand new pencils, and ready to take on the first day of kindergarten.

Ava Combs was excited to begin kindergarten as well, responding with an enthusiastic “yes ma’am!” when asked if she was ready for the first day.

Combs said she was looking forward to coloring and already had one friend in her kindergarten class.

VES faculty and staff were ready for the year to begin as well.

“The excitement,” new VES Principal Deberah Miller said of her favorite part of the first day of school. “And, for me being new, it’s getting to know the children and the families. It’s a new beginning.”

Miller said she is also looking forward to “watching the children learn, grow and achieve” and “continuing to build the relationship between home and the school” that is “so important.”

The first day at VES was off to a smooth start as teachers stationed across the campus guided children from cars and school buses through the halls and to their classrooms.

“This is the best first day of school carpool yet,” commented Erin Whidden, one of the teachers guiding traffic outside of the school.

“So far this morning, it’s going great,” added VES teacher Jane Snyder. “It’s all about safety, keeping (the students) safe.”

“It’s teamwork, strategic planning and everyone working together,” Miller said of the first day routine. “We have teachers stationed throughout the building to ensure the safety of our children.”

Aug. 7 was not only the first day for VES, it also marked the first day for the entire Pelham City School System.

“As far as buses running and food being ready, it went pretty well,” PCS Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield said from his office in Pelham’s City Hall.

Coefield noted there were technological issues, and the Internet had been down at several school facilities, however he confirmed it was being worked on.

“That type of thing can happen any day, any time,” Coefield said of the Internet problems. “It just happened to hit us on the first day.”

Other than technological problems, Coefield said he had “not heard any negative” feedback.

Coefield planned to visit each Pelham school beginning “around lunch” on the first day.

“I’m going out around lunch to see how everything went,” Coefield said, adding, “the first day, I need to let those principals do what they do.”