‘Having a great time:’ EHES marks smooth first day of school

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Elvin Hill Elementary School was abuzz with activity as new and returning students and staff reported to campus on Aug. 8, the first day of the 2019-2020 school year in Shelby County.

The day was even more exciting than usual for Courtney Madison, who rejoined the EHES family as its new principal this summer.

“I am back home,” said Madison, who grew up in Columbiana and was a teacher at EHES for eight years before taking a position at another school. “My journey has come full circle. It’s great to be back home and serve the community and students I know so well.”

A “welcome back” sign was displayed in front of Elvin Hill Elementary School as students returned on Thursday, Aug. 8. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

Madison called the faculty “amazing,” and said the entire staff was operating with an “all-hands-on-deck mentality” to ensure the first day went well for everyone.

“They are so great,” she said. “They have made my transition unbelievably smooth and easy. I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome.”

Students were enjoying themselves, too.

Kindergartener Alex Etress said he had seen several friends from preschool.

When asked what he thought about school so far, Etress said, “It’s really fun,” and added, “We have been to eat a snack outside and played inside. I’m looking forward to having a great time.”

Another student said he was excited about making friends and going on field trips.

Fourth grader Colin Endfinger said he and his classmates had done math and reading, and were about to start writing.

“I’m really excited about extra recess time,” Endfinger said.

Madison said her advice to students is: “Be you and be kind. When those things are done, everything falls in place.”

She said the school’s mission for students is summed up in the acronym CATS – Courage, Achievement, Teamwork and Service.

“We want them to achieve these things,” she said. “We’re going to build on what’s already great here.”