Feel the spirit year-round

Warrior Center students Jordan Lacey and Preston Strickland show off their creations during the school's "Frozen" themed Christmas party on Dec. 18. (File)

Warrior Center students Jordan Lacey and Preston Strickland show off their creations during the school’s “Frozen” themed Christmas party on Dec. 18. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Two of my favorite places in the world are right here in Shelby County, and I try to visit them every chance I have.
The Shelby County School System’s Linda Nolen Learning Center in Pelham and the Alabaster City School System’s Warrior Center both captured my heart the first time I visited them. While they are facilities in two separate school systems, their goals are the same: To provide the best-possible learning environment for students with significant special needs.
Every time I have visited one of the schools, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of one-on-one care and dedication the teachers have provided the kids, and I can tell it makes a legitimate difference in these children’s lives.
A few weeks ago, I dropped in to visit the Warrior Center’s Christmas party, and I found not only teachers, but also Thompson High School students hard at work completing holiday-themed activities based on the movie “Frozen.”
I had spoken to the Warrior Center students about the journalism career a few weeks prior, and the students immediately recognized me and asked me thoughtful questions about how the newspaper industry was going. I think that’s a testament to the attention and learning environment created at the Warrior Center.
Likewise, students at LNLC also had no trouble taking the spotlight during the school’s annual Christmas production, titled “Snowmen at Christmas.”
I’ve been to the LNLC Christmas performance several times in the past, and I was always impressed with the preparations the school’s students and staff members put in to make it a success.
Every single student participated in the show on some level – whether by acting out scenes or singing in the choir – which built teamwork and pride in their ability to make something happen when they set their minds to it.
Getting involved in one of these fantastic schools is a great way to feel the holiday spirit year-round, and I encourage anyone who hasn’t spent time at either to consider volunteering some time.
You’ll be glad you did.