Excitement surrounds first day of school for Helena students, teachers

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–After more than two months of quiet and stillness during the summer months, the hallways at Helena Intermediate and Helena Elementary School quickly came to life again as the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 7, marked the first day of school for students in the Shelby County School District.

Evidence of the first day of school was seen right away as parents turning in to drop off their children were greeted with a large “Welcome Back” sign as the carpool line wound through the parking lot of HIS.

Helena Intermediate School Principal Kathy Paiml was one of the first to welcome back students in the lobby as she pointed students to classrooms and greeted them with a wave or a smile.

“I love seeing the kids coming in smiling and being excited about the first day,” Paiml said. “Being all dressed up in their new first day of school clothes and then the teachers just being excited to start the year with their new students. It’s all positive and everybody’s excited.”

This school year marks the sixth year for Paiml as the principal at Helena Intermediate and 21st year overall as an educator. When asked what stands out about HIS, Paiml was quick to commend the teachers.

“The dedicated teachers,” Paiml said. “We just recognized teachers at the beginning of the school year that have been teaching 10, 15, 20, 25 and even 30 years. We have some dedicated teachers that have been here quite a while and continue to be enthusiastic about teaching students each year.”

One of those teachers was fifth grade teacher Nicole Heim who is entering her 11th year as a teacher at HIS. Each teacher and administrator stood out from the pack as they proudly wore T-shirts with the phrase, “Be the Leader” with the word “Follow” crossed out.

Similarly, teachers and administrators at Helena Elementary also showed off new T-shirts that said “Dream Big.”

Izzy Deemer and Garrett Myers were two students in Heim’s class who each shared what they were most excited about for the new school year.

“I think that math is what I’m most excited about,” Deemer said.

Myers said he was excited to be back and to see all his friends again and when it came to being at Helena Intermediate, Myers said he “felt all the teachers were there for him.”

As Heim welcomed her new students for the 2018-19 school year, she reiterated what Paiml said by saying her favorite part of the first day was seeing the new faces and the excitement and getting to know all of her new students.

For more information or to learn important dates within the Shelby County School District, visit Shelbyed.k12.al.us.

To view or purchase photos, visit Shelbycountyphotos.com.