Back to school

Joshua Williams slides down the slide at Meadow View Elementary while his classmates, Macy Holt and Dylan Bell, look on, during the first day of school. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Joshua Williams slides down the slide at Meadow View Elementary while his classmates, Macy Holt and Dylan Bell, look on, during the first day of school. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By GINNY COOPER MCCARLEY / Staff Writer

I don’t remember much about my very first day of school, but I’ve always been told I was quite excited. I have an older brother, and I was itching to get to go to school like he did everyday. I ran ahead into my new classroom without a care in the world, my dad said. My mom bawled.

This week, I had the opportunity to visit several Shelby County Schools on their first day, and the excitement in the air was catching. Kids greeted each other and looked for friends, teachers stood outside of their doors and at the front of the schools, fresh paint and new art lined the walls.

“It’s the excitement of a new day, a new beginning,” Vincent Elementary Literacy Coach Margaret Battle told me.

The kids seemed excited, too. There were very few tears and a lot of happy smiles in the halls of Vincent Elementary, Elvin Hill Elementary and Montevallo Elementary.

For anxious parents, Elvin Hill offered a Yahoo Boohoo breakfast for moms and dads of kindergarteners who weren’t quite ready to leave the building. Montevallo Elementary offered a Comforting Coffee in the library, where parents could commiserate after dropping their kids off for the first time.

By the time the tardy bell rang at 7:45 a.m. at Vincent Elementary, kids were already bent over paper—pencils in hand—working on their first assignments of the year. The halls were hushed; another school year begun.

Kids at Montevallo Elementary returned to dramatic improvements. A new entrance and canopy modernized the look of the school, and the new entrance was one of the first in the district to be completed under the Safe Schools Initiative, which enhanced safety features at the school.

“We had a lot of parents give a lot of compliments, and we got a lot of great feedback,” MES Principal Allison Campbell told me that afternoon.

Being in the halls of the elementary schools brought back so many happy hours spent painting, playing and learning. Though my years in the classroom are over, it’s nice to see that kids still enjoy going back to school.