Spring Hill Elementary is starting off the school year with a brand new mantra.
"We've made 'Well Being' the new theme and motto for the children, the parents and the faculty," said Spring Hill principal Roger Vanderhye, who has worked as a principal for 22 years.
Vanderhye has been principal at Spring Hill for three and a half years and said that he has loved — and continues to love — every minute of it.
"It is just really special here because we have fantastic kids, and our parent support is just tremendous," said Vanderhye. "The kids are hard working, they're nice to one another and they want to learn... I am just so happy to be the principal here."
On Tuesday, Vanderhye kicked off the new school year with a "Well Being" assembly.
"These kids have so many talents, and they're all so different and so well rounded, and that's what we want to focus on — teaching them to be well rounded people," said Vanderhye. "We like to have a balance here. It's not just all academic study — our P.E. [physical education] program is more than most schools, we have a fantastic choral program, a great band and a great orchestra program."
Of course, that is not to say that academics are forgotten at Spring Hill, and like a proud father, Vanderhye is delighted to talk about how well Spring Hill students perform on their Standards Of Learning (SOL) tests.
"The kids here don't just do okay — they excel," said Vanderhye.
Spring Hill's enrollment this year is approximately 835 to 840 students, and the school has added a Gifted and Talented Center that will continue to expand in the coming years. In the past, Gifted and Talented students had to travel to other elementary schools for their classes. This year, third and fourth grade Gifted and Talented students will have the option to take their classes at Spring Hill. Fifth grade students will be added next year, and sixth grade students will be added the following year.
Vanderhye added that Spring Hill will also continue to focus on teaching students how to make smart choices in life.
"It's not necessarily that something is right or wrong, but rather that there are different consequences of certain choices, so they need to learn how to think about the consequences of their actions," said Vanderhye. "Kids — if given the right encouragement — they will constantly impress you. Once you start asking questions and let them talk, they'll just run with it."