"We're glad you're here with us. You're going to have a great learning experience at Montvale." That’s the message that Principal John Webb impressed upon Montvale Elementary’s students while making classroom visits Monday morning.
“I love the first day of school, the energy and excitement,” Webb said after one classroom introduction. “I love greeting students and their families and reconnecting with them. We had an exceptional first day. The kids and their parents seemed to be excited about coming back, and everybody was pleased with the new roof.
“It’s an exciting time for Montvale,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about facilities and leaks now. We can focus on what we’re here to do — teach children.” Crews reroofed 58,000 square feet at Montvale Elementary and 53,018 square feet at Middlesettlements Elementary. Both projects excluded metal entry canopies and modular classrooms.
In addition to Montvale Elementary’s roof, workers repainted 18 classrooms, Webb said. They also replaced ceiling tile that had been damaged
Crews painted 22 classrooms and retiled 12 rooms at Middlesettlements Elementary. They also replaced a 35-ton heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) unit that serviced the commons area.
‘Always happy to be at Montvale’
“I was nervous this morning, because I didn’t know what to expect,” said fifth-grader Natalie Simerly. “I’m not nervous anymore, because we’ve met each other. It’s going to be a good year, because I’m in a good class with a good teacher.”
Simerly said she has set academic goals for herself and plans to meet them with help from her classmates and teacher. “I want to earn higher grades and learn more advanced math. I need to improve in reading, and I think she’ll help me reach my goals.”
In addition to academic goals, she has set further objectives. “I really want to serve on safety patrol. It’s only for fifth-graders, so it’d be my first year. The thing that excites me the most about it is helping younger kids. I’d be out there every afternoon I’m on a rotation helping people. Not to mention, it looks like you’re the big kid on campus.”
Third-grader Ayden Talbott had a similar experience on the first day of school, because he was “so excited that he didn’t sleep at all (Sunday night).” He even woke up early Monday morning.
However, Talbott’s anxiety dissipated when he met his new teacher. “Ms. (Ashley) Finley is my favorite teacher, so far. She’s fun and nice. I felt more at ease once I met her, and I’m always happy to be at Montvale.”
After hearing the educator’s expectations for her class, he expects to reach greater heights this year. “I’ve got two goals this year: Make all A’s and participate in the Academic Olympics. I think that Ms. Finley can help me do it.”
Principal thanks officials, voters
Webb wanted to publicly thank Blount County public officials and voters for helping staff and students to reach their full potential. “We’re deeply grateful to the County Commission and school board for this brand new roof, freshly painted walls and new tile. However, I can’t forget the citizens who approved the tax increase that made this project possible. It’s an exciting time for Montvale, and we’re expecting great things this year.”
By Matthew Stewart-The Daily Times