Helena students excited to kick off 2021-2022 school year

By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – Filing out of cars and off school buses on the mornings of Thursday, Aug. 12, and Friday, Aug. 13, tears were shed and smiles were spread with different emotions on the first day of school at Helena Elementary School.

Principal Genet Holcomb was one of the one with a smile across her face, thrilled to welcome students back and eager to get everything rolling this fall.

“The beginning of any school year is full of details and planning. We know that it will set the tone for the year, so we want to ensure every detail has been addressed,” Holcomb said. “This year, we are especially excited to have all students back with us for face-to-face learning. While teachers, families and students did an amazing job with virtual learning, we missed the daily interactions with them very much.”

While everyone involved, including teachers, school administrators, parents and students, is ready to get everything back into full swing, some of the traditional events that mark the beginning of the school year had to be amended just in case.

Holcomb, her faculty and staff had to get creative to ensure any unnecessary hiccups were avoided heading into the first week of classes.

The teachers of HES even went a step further to help their students ease back into the routine as the kids get used to a new, yet old familiar feeling of being around their teacher and classmates.

“Teachers made an introduction video and shared it with their students,” says Holcomb. “Virtual Parent Academies will be held through August in order to orient parents to the routines, curriculum expectations and answer questions.”

The students will certainly benefit from the faculty going the extra mile, but it’s extremely helpful to the parents as they reorient their lives and families.

Parents and kids need to feel comfortable and confident coming back to the regular school setting, but teachers also need the same thing.

Being around their colleagues as they all return to their calling and career is important, and the atmosphere at Helena Elementary is one of excitement and anticipation.

“This has been a joyful time for our school. We had a late night PJ, Pizza and Planning event for teachers last week, and this week, we welcomed all faculty and staff back on Monday,” Holcomb said. “While this is my first year as principal of HES, it has been one of the smoothest starts I’ve experienced. I can’t say enough about the attitude of the faculty and staff of HES. They are student centered, goal oriented and collaborative in nature. Everyone has been so willing to jump in and lend a helping hand. And today as I walked the halls and welcomed students, they were having a great day.”

A return to the joy of teaching and learning. It will take a team effort, but Helena is ready to come together and give this new school year a feeling of hope and optimism for everyone involved as they navigate this new, yet familiar time in their lives.