Students excited for first day back in Pelham elementary schools

Published 10:54 am Friday, August 12, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer 

PELHAM – The halls of Pelham Oaks and Pelham Ridge elementary schools were full of excited and chaotic energy on Thursday, Aug. 11 as students filed into the building for the first day of the 2022-2023 school year.

Parents and students alike were full of emotions as they hugged goodbye for the day. In typical form, some students were more excited than others, but whether it was tears or smiles, the schools’ morning crew leaders were there with hugs, high-fives and words of encouragement.

 At Pelham Ridge, the students were greeted by Ridge Principal Lisa Baxter and her morning crew team. Even PCS Superintendent Dr. Chuck Ledbetter was present to welcome returning and new students to the Pelham family.

Up-beat music played as the students walked into the school, some holding their parents’ hands and some holding each others’ hands. The highlight of the carpool lane, however, was an appearance by Paws the Panther, Pelham’s mascot. Paws waved to and hugged the students while having intermittent dance parties, making the students laugh and taking the fear away from starting a new school year. 

Baxter praised her staff for their hard work and their dedication to Pelham Ridge students.

“I really want to shout out to my morning crew team especially because they are out here every morning rain or shine,” she said. “They are just so awesome, and I know the kids love it, too.”

Across the way at Pelham Oaks, it was a similar morning in the carpool line with several students excited to start the day and others slightly more hesitant. For those who were feeling overwhelmed or scared, they were greeted by Pelham’s new facility dog, Cricket, who was there to happily receive pets. Students rushed to their new classrooms to make new friends and hug old ones before walking to the front lobby to take their first-day photos.

Principal Chase Holden said, overall, this was one of the smoothest first-day carpools the school has had in a few years.

“It was really good to see everybody’s smiling faces at the start of the year because we haven’t been able to have that for a while,” he said. “It was a more or less normal start to the school year. We didn’t have any other outliers like construction or COVID, it was great to have a really good start to the morning and I think a lot of people saw this.”

After the students began their morning, new Pelham Oaks parents attended the Boohoo Yahoo Social inside the school library. Holden said the social is held for any kindergarten or new Pelham Oaks parents in general to get to know other parents and members of the PTO, and holding the social takes pressures off of worried parents.

Going into this year, Holden said his and his staff are excited for the new year, and they’re looking forward to meeting new students and catching up with returning ones.

“I think mainly my focus is on just us having a normal start and focusing on priorities like student learning and relationships,” he said. “As teachers, you have to start building relationships with students before the learning can happen. We know they may be excited they’re going to school, or they’re sad about it, but either way we just want to be there for them.”