‘Best the school has ever looked:’ Students return for first day of school at Helena Intermediate

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA – Students were showing off their new school clothes as teachers and administrators at Helena Intermediate School welcomed hundreds of students into the building the morning of Thursday, Aug. 8, which marked the first day of the 2019-2020 school year.

After a couple months of summer vacation, students will learn to get back into a routine with new teachers and classes as the first day of school was spent going over policies, procedures and more to ease any anxiety students might be feeling.

Helena Intermediate School Principal Kathy Paiml is entering her seventh year as principal at the school and was excited to start the school year in such a clean building.

“This is the beginning of my seventh year and my favorite thing on the first day of school is just the excitement of the kids,” Paiml said. “The building is clean and the fresh bulletin boards and all the bright colors are exciting.”

Several visual improvements could be seen both inside and outside of Helena Intermediate School as Paiml said nearly 200 volunteers from Church of the Highlands helped improve the school this summer during the church’s “Serve Day” in July.

“We had a serve day and Church of the Highlands came out and this is the best the school has ever looked,” Paiml said. “We had mulch spread, painting of the bathrooms, we had four square painted on the playground and paw prints on the track, the kindness cafe was spruced up, we had the entranceway dome painted, they put shade structures on the playground and just several other things that they did.”

Some of the new phrases painted on the school’s bathroom stalls included things like “winning means you’re doing your best” and “be the best version of you.”

As carpoolers pulled up to the school Thursday morning, parents and students were greeted by a large sign that read, “Ready to be the Difference” which will serve as the school’s motto for the 2019-2020 school year.

Teachers will work to instill this motto and the practice of seven good habits with the goal being that the students will use them and improve on them as the school year goes on.

The Shelby County School District will include 177 total days of instruction for the 2019-2020 school year.

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