SCS showcases work to ‘inspire a generation’

NORTH SHELBY – Graduating senior Hannah Daughdrill holds a GPA better than 4.3, is her class salutatorian at Vincent Middle-High School, plays volleyball among other extracurricular activities, has earned scholarships and will attend the University of Alabama in the fall.

But Daughdrill’s journey to success has included many challenges, and her classmates, teachers, administrators and mentors in the Shelby County School system have been crucial to her overcoming those obstacles.

“They have all pushed me and never given up on me, and because of that I’ve come out on top,” Daughdrill said to attendees at the SCS Showcase of Schools on Thursday, April 19. “We have a motto, ‘Together we swarm,’ and we definitely live up to that. I am beyond prepared, and I know I can handle anything that awaits me in the fall at the University of Alabama.”

SCS Superintendent Randy Fuller said Daughdrill’s story and the programs and strategies highlighted at the event were evidence of the school system’s work to “inspire a generation.”

“You saw something very special today from our school system,” Fuller said. “What is the future? You’ve just witnessed it today. We as teachers hold the key to the futures of our kids.”

Fuller noted the system’s 94-percent graduation rate and growth in academic achievement and leadership.

“We’re seeing a tremendous change in our school system based on the efforts of our faculty and community leaders,” he said.

The event began with visitors stopping by booths manned by representatives of various schools in the system. Students and teachers demonstrated programs such as the Oak Mountain High School robotics team and items used at the Linda Nolen Learning Center to help calm students with sensory disorders.

Olivia Martin, a seventh grader at Helena Middle School, welcomed those in attendance and introduced Jessica Payne, liaison to Shelby County Schools for Regions Bank, which sponsored the Showcase.

“Every year I walk away inspired,” Payne said.

Charlies Lewis of Calera Elementary School gave the invocation.

Liam Mitchell, a fifth grader at Montevallo Elementary School, served as master of ceremonies and introduced speakers and performers, including Danily Connell from Elvin Hill Elementary School.

Connell talked about her “emotional bank account,” and how, if the account is full, she is better prepared to face the day.

Showing kindness and respect to others adds to not only that person’s account but also your own, Connell said.

“It takes courage to apologize, and it’s a sure sign that I’m becoming more mature,” she said.

Tess Parker and Michael Smith from Shelby County High School and Josh Thomas from Vincent talked about the HOPE program, in which students produce plants, care for and harvest herbs in partnership with Taziki’s Mediterranean Café.

Daughdrill talked about challenges in her life mostly associated with her father’s drug use, which she first realized was a problem when she was 12.

“When you’re young like that, it hurts to see your parent go through something like that because you want to help them but you don’t know what to do,” Daughdrill said.

Though Daughdrill is “still dealing with” the situation and its emotional fallout, she said her school family has helped her through and she has been told that local children look to her as a role model.

Chelsea High School’s show choir, “Out of the Blue,” performed before Fuller’s presentation, and Oak Mountain Middle School teacher Kristen Glover concluded the event with a breathtaking rendition of the song “Rise Up.”