Category Archives: Schools

Rush leaves OMMS to be principal at Columbiana Middle

It was announced this week that Dr. Kerry Rush of Oak Mountain Middle School is leaving to assume the principalship at Columbiana Middle School.

Rush was a charter member of the OMMS faculty, spending 19 years at the school, 12 years as a science teacher and the last seven as assistant principal.

“I cannot say enough to describe Dr. Rush’s commitment to excellence, in addition to her love and devotion to the students and staff at OMMS,” said Principal Larry Haynes in an email statement to parents. “She has been an inspiration to each of us and will be deeply missed.”


A legacy of marches, mentorships and Durenisms

Oak Mountain Band’s Jim Duren set the bar high

Jim Duren at his final concert conducting the OMHS Band. Photo courtesy of Alan Jones.


Jim Duren never accepted limitations of directing a high school band. His ensembles played professional and orchestral-level music like Don Juan by Strauss, Mendelssohn’s Metamorphosis and pieces by Tchaikovsky.

“As he likes to say,” said Helen Caldwell, last year’s head drum major at Oak Mountain High School, “‘We’re not just playing “Here We Go Up the Road to the Birthday Party.” If we were playing that, we wouldn’t have to practice.’”

Duren is a legend in the band world for getting such high quality musicianship out of such young people in his nationally recognized programs.

Since the school opened in 1999, his bands at OMHS have never received less than a superior rating at any festival. In 2010, both the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble concert bands performed at Carnegie Hall. Duren retired in May after a nearly 40-year career. Continue reading

Area high school graduates plan ahead, dream big


The class of 2012 has recently bid a fond farewell to the halls of their local high schools. 280 Living checked in with some area graduates and asked them to share their thoughts on looking back at high school and their road ahead.

Oak Mountain graduate Caroline Beauchaine

Caroline Beauchaine
Oak Mountain High School
Caroline graduated in the top five percent of her class and plans to attend Auburn University to pursue a pre-med degree in biomedical science. She served as president of the school SGA, and was also involved in Key Club, Spanish Honor Society, FBLA, Soccer Sweetie, NHS, Mu Alpha Theta, Peer Assistant, Oak Mountain Master, and Con Brio Showchoir. She was selected as the ABC 33/40/America’s First Federal Credit Union First Class Student, and a PEO Star Student. Active in her youth group at Shades Mountain Baptist, Caroline was a Shelby County Distinguished Young Woman finalist and participated in Youth Leadership Shelby County. Continue reading

Hoover City Schools approve new calendar

Following state legislation requiring new start and end dates for the school year, the Hoover Board of Education approved a new calendar for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year during a board meeting held May 22.



The start date for Hoover City Schools will be August 20. Spain Park High School will hold graduation next year on May 23, 2013, which will also be the last day of school for students.

Shelby County Board of Education revises calendar

In a meeting held on May 21, the Shelby County Board of Education revised the 2012-2013 school calendar. The calendar can be viewed here under the heading “approved calendar”
The revised calendar now lists the first full day for students to return to school as Monday, August 20. The week of August 13 – 17 will be used as teacher workdays and professional development days. Previously scheduled weather days have been removed.

The changes were made to comply with Alabama’s newly passed Flexibility Calendar Act requires that schools start the academic year no more than two weeks before Labor Day, which is August 20 this year, and that the year end by May 24.

These changes for Shelby County allow the system to maintain a 180 day calendar year with school ending for students on May 23, 2013.

Jags theatre department will fly high with Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka

Spain Park High School Theatre students are taking their spring production to new heights, quite literally!

This week the award-winning SPHS theatre department presents Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, providing actors the rare opportunity to be flown during the show; using a system of hidden tracks and ropes, the students will appear to fly onstage in key scenes choreographed by ZFX Flying Effects, Inc.

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, which marks the school’s return to musicals, opens Thursday, May 10. Performances are Thursday and Friday, May 10-11 at 7 p.m., Saturday May 12 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday May 13 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults. Contact Eric St John at 439-1465 for more information.

Greystone fifth grader wins state-level in Doodle 4 Google contest

Greystone Elementary proudly announced today that fifth grader Reily Randolph has been chosen as Alabama’s fourth and fifth grade winner in Google’s fifth annual Doodle 4 Google contest.

Greystone Elementary fifth grader Reily Randolph stands with representatives from Google after she was announced as the state-level fourth and fifth grade winner of the Doodle 4 Google contest. Photo by Kathryn Acree.

The Google contest asked K – 12 students to “doodle” their artistic answer to the question, “If I could travel in time, I’d visit….”. Reily’s entry featured the Industrial Revolution. Continue reading