Parents follow students’ footsteps at open house

Pelham High School students and their parents talk together between classes at PHS Open House. (Contributed)

Pelham High School students and their parents talk together between classes at PHS Open House. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“How does Bethany do this every Friday?” asked her mom. Jeni Warden was feeling the strain of her daughter’s schedule—and the evening was just starting.

Beginning second period of our Pelham High School Open House, parents were already acquiring empathy. Traveling the crisscross, back and forth, up and down nature of their kids’ schedules by attending Open House is a challenge.

“Fridays are exhausting,” I say. “How did we ever manage seven and eight classes a day for five days of the week?”

For many years, Pelham High School students braved the hallways every hour and we moved at a frantic pace. Now Fridays feel like days of sprinting. Indeed, many students and teachers have come to prefer the more relaxed pace of odd and even days with fewer classes meeting each day. In order for parents to visit all of their students’ scheduled classes, Open House moved through the PHS Frantic Friday schedule.

Meeting with Advanced Placement English Language parents led to discussions of students scoring well enough on their AP exam to earn up to six hours of college credit. Earning six hours of college credit saves about $2,000—the price of two college classes at most Alabama colleges and universities.

In Creative Writing, parents learn that students are storytelling using all types of media. They’re happy to see students submitting work online via Google Classroom to prepare for collegiate submissions.

Competitive Writing parents are impressed that students have created resumes, which are handy tools for completing scholarship applications. Parents are happy to know that students are required to complete at least six scholarship applications and essays each nine weeks.

“This is where I sat last year in Creative Writing and this is where I sit in Lit Mag this year,” sophomore Anna Carden tells her mom. “I’m moving towards the front every year.”

“At this rate, you’ll be teaching class by senior year,” I tell Carden. She smiles.

School years are journeys. This year, I am blessed with amazing traveling companions.