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New school year begins

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL – Humboldt students closed the door on their summer break and were back in school last Thursday. New principal of East Elementary School, Debbie Sheehan, greets Brooklyn Pack (upper photo) as she enters the building Thursday morning. Maeleisa Tate and Skylar Ray (middle photo) hop out of the car and make their way into the school building. East’s Rose Williamson leads Iker Zarate in the right direction on the first day of school.

by Danny Wade

Last Thursday was a big day in Humboldt. It was the first day for the 2022-23 school year. For some students, it was a celebration for advancing to a new grade and seeing old friends. For others, it just meant the end of their summer break and dreading going back to the classroom.

Thursday morning as student entered East Elementary, it was a mixed bag of emotions on their faces. Some had smiles of excitement, while others sported sad, melancholy expressions.

Going back to school not only affects students, but parents too. Some parents shed tears of happiness and pride for their students moving up a grade and the new adventure they are embarking upon. Other parents had mixed emotions. Some were happy their kids are back in the schoolroom, while others are sad knowing their little girl or boy is growing up too quickly.

At Stigall Primary School, principal, Dr. Tiffany Purnell and her staff rolled out the red carpet for their students.

“Our students and parents walked the red carpet as they entered school today,” Dr. Purnell said. “Stigall teachers, staff and administrators welcomed our students with smiles and open arms.”

Debbie Sheehan was all smiles on her first official day of school as East Elementary School principal. Sheehan was promoted to principal after working at Stigall Primary for the past three years. Sheehan is a 22-year educator and began her career teaching first grade. After 17 years with first graders and kindergarten for two years, Sheehan transitioned to instructional coach at Stigall. As instructional coach, Sheehan worked to help teachers and staff develop ways to be successful in the classroom and provide exceptional instruction to their students.

“What a wonderful beginning for the 2022-2023 school year,” Sheehan stated. “Our East families have been so supportive of our new administration, teachers, staff, and children. Our halls were filled at open house and smiles were everywhere.”

Another new principal this year is Grover Harwell at Humboldt Jr./Sr. High School. Harwell came to Humboldt City School after spending time with Haywood County Schools. There he served two years as director of Student Options Academy, which serves as a learning alternative for students who have had difficulty adjusting to the regular school environment. Prior to that, Harwell served three years as assistant principal and was in the classroom for nine years.

“We are excited for the upcoming school year, and we love seeing the excitement on our students’ faces,” Dr. Purnell said. “We are ready to teach, and our students are ready to learn. This is going to be a great year for Stigall Primary.”

“We look forward to having more opportunities for parents to team up with us as we work together for our children,” Sheehan noted. “It’s going to be a fantastic year.”

The days of sleeping in, staying up late and no specific plans for the day are long gone—at least until next May. Now, the norm is once again a more structured schedule each weekday. Rise and shine, up and early, get ready for school, hop on the bus or in the car, spend seven long hours of learning, head home, do some homework, have dinner, enjoy some free time, hit the sack and prepare to do it all over again.

Two famous quotes students should keep in mind are, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”—Nelson Mandela; and “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”—Martin Luther King Jr.

Let the learning begin.

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