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Dr.  Blair  J.  Andress
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Principal's Corner

Not Just a School

The 2017 - 2018 school year is off to a phenomenal start!

When students came back in August, they found some changes waiting for them. The campus saw a few physical changes over the course of the summer. Several classrooms and all of the hallways were painted, and the fresh coat of paint made everything feel fresh and new. Carol Barksdale, a Montgomery artist, shared her talents with us once again and painted three murals for us. One is in the front lobby, one is on the seventh and eighth grade hallways, and one is on the front hallway between the library and the computer lab. We have also posted dozens of inspirations quotes throughout the hallways. One of my personal favorites, a quote by Zig Ziglar, is found on both hallways: "If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you."

We made a couple of personnel changes over the summer as well. Mr. Tony Hawthorne was our band director last year, but we had to share him with Holtville Middle School. Elmore County Superintendent of Education Richard Dennis is placing a great emphasis on extracurricular events, and he worked to provide funding for a full-time band director for both EMS and HMS. As a result, we no longer have to share Mr. Hawthorne! We also were pleased to welcome Mrs. Jennifer Taylor as our new seventh grade math teacher. She will also be working with our EMS soccer team as their coach this year. Our final addition to the EMS family is one who is no stranger to EMS. Mrs. Connie Baker had worked with the EMS 21st Century program, but she worked during the day as a paraprofessional at Eclectic Elementary. We are happy to have her here with us full-time now!

This year's theme can be found on the windows of the lobby and on both hallways. It is found on the back of our EMS faculty t-shirts, it can be found in each classroom, and it is heard every morning as part of our morning announcements. It is part of discussions when the counselor is talking with students, and the administrators reference it when handling discipline situations.

In this school,
we do second chances.
We apologize.
We forgive easily.
We respect each other.
We keep our promises.
We never give up.
We encourage one another.
We laugh often.
We belong.
We are a family.

We are not just a school. We are a family. In an eighth grade classroom at Enterprise Junior HIgh School (or "Old Junior" as it was affectionately known), I learned about the concept of in loco parentis. I have shared with countless students that when they are here with us, the school functions in the place of their parents. I have told them that we have to take care of them, keep them safe, and look after them. (One of these conversations has resulted in one student calling me his "white daddy" for the past three years!) This year, we are expanding on the concept of in loco parentis by proudly proclaiming what we have known and felt all along.

We are not just a school. We are a family.

And if you are reading this, you are a part of that family. Maybe you're a parent, or maybe you're a supporter like the ladies from the area churches who bring us baked goods. (Side note to whoever it is from First Baptist that bakes those thin sugar butter cookies - I think I love you. I told my wife I was going to propose to you, and she said I couldn't.) Maybe you're a member of the community, or maybe you're just curious about who we are and what we do here.

Regardless, you're part of our family, too. We couldn't do what we do without all of your help and support.

We are off to a great start, and we are looking forward to what we know will be the best year yet. As always.... it is a GREAT time to be a Panther!