Starting off fresh: Helena Intermediate students begin new school year

Published 4:18 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The rain didn’t put a damper on things as teachers and faculty members at Helena Intermediate School were all smiles as students filed into the building on the first day of school on Tuesday, Aug. 8.

Multiple teachers could be seen near the front of the building helping direct students to their appropriate classrooms and answering any questions they may have to ease tensions.

Numerous students were starting their first day of school in a brand new building as third graders were making the transition from Helena Elementary School to Helena Intermediate School.

Third graders Eveline Guess and Logan Shackelford will be classmates in Nancy McCoy’s class at HIS and on the first day they discussed some of the things they were most excited about for the new year.

“I’m excited about swapping classes and I like gym a lot,” Guess said.

Shackelford said she was excited to start learning “reading and math” in school.

Aug. 8 marked the first day of 178 total days of instruction for the Shelby County School System in the 2017-18 academic year.

HIS Gifted Resource Teacher Rita Sparks was also starting her first day of school at Helena Intermediate School and explained some of her favorite things about the first day of school.

“Just the excitement of the students starting back and the anticipation and knowing they’re coming from different directions,” Sparks said. “I’ve been teaching for 23 years and this is my first year at Helena Intermediate. I’m excited to be here and to have the support from the administrators. The faculty and administrators are very warm and welcoming and make it feel at home.”

Helena Intermediate School Principal Kathy Paiml has been an educator since 1996 and she began the day welcoming back both teachers and students and announcing the birthdays over the intercom.

For more information or to learn important dates within the Shelby County School District, visit