Gulf Shores celebrates inaugural first day of school

By Melanie LeCroy
Posted 8/14/19

As the sun came up over Gulf Shores on Aug. 9, city employees were busy putting the last minute touches on the landscape in front of the new Gulf Shores City School campus and setting up traffic …

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Gulf Shores celebrates inaugural first day of school

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As the sun came up over Gulf Shores on Aug. 9, city employees were busy putting the last minute touches on the landscape in front of the new Gulf Shores City School campus and setting up traffic cones.

Teachers, principals and school board members were pacing the sidewalk, ready for the first car riders and bus riders to step onto their new campus. The atmosphere was so electric that even high humidity and heat couldn’t put a damper on the people's smiles.

By 7:15 a.m. Mark Acreman, public works director, was able to see his traffic flow plan in action as he directed the first cars into the middle school car line while Mayor Robert Craft greeted the vehicles from the sidewalk.

“When you pull up, you see a new first impression. A new look that is significantly better,” Craft said.

The city of Gulf Shores has been working hard the last two years to set this plan in motion. This summer the campus was under construction seven days a week as Noel Hand and the public works crews built roads, playgrounds, installed irrigation, and added parking lots.

Not all the changes are obvious, but over the school year they will become evident. The school board and teachers worked hard to choose the best tools for learning.

“We found the people that were willing to accept the challenge, and they want to be here. We have a team of like-minded people. Everyone has bought into the goal to be as good as we can be,” Craft said

As students began to fill the campus, the smiles and nerves were present. Caylin Dean, Hannah Coley, Taylor Bailey, and Cameron Langston are a part of the first freshman class at Gulf Shores High School. Like any teen on the first day of school, they said they wished they were at the beach, and that summer wasn’t over.

At the elementary school, the student’s attitude was different. Children bounced off to find their classes, and there were plenty of teachers to guide the way if they appeared lost. Pre-K students and their parents had a delayed start on the first day to give them time to walk-in with their parents.

Jackson Baggett wanted to try out the benches in front of the school before going to his classroom.

“I am excited to make new friends and eat my lunch,” he said, smiling.

Inside, Delilah Brenner was clinging to her mom Noele Brenner, but her excitement was written all over her face. She couldn’t wait to get to Mrs. Lee’s classroom and play with the baby dolls and play on the playground.

High school assistant athletic director Stephan Hammock and his wife Ava walked their daughter Elana to her pre-K classroom.

Elana said she was excited to “meet new friends and play on the playground.”

As the campus settled and classes began, the school board, city council, principals and support staff gathered in front of the elementary school to celebrate the occasion with a ribbon-cutting.

“We are creating an opportunity here for any kid to go anywhere they want. We want our students to get an education and want to come back to Gulf Shores and work,” Craft said.