By ANGELA FARR KING
The energy at Hiddenite Elementary School was electric on Friday, October 21. The students and staff were decked out in mostly black and gold, which are the favorite colors of their principal, Mrs. Amy Daigle, due to her love of Appalachian State University.
Alexander County Schools has been celebrating and honoring their school principals throughout the month of October. Hiddenite Elementary School, under the leadership of their school counselors and their assistant principal, took their appreciation to the “Next Level.”
This is Mrs. Daigle’s first year as the lead principal at Hiddenite. She formerly served as the assistant principal for both Hiddenite Elementary and Bethlehem Elementary Schools. She also served at East Middle School as their AP.
Since taking the position, Daigle hit the ground running to cultivate a culture of excitement and community within the school that also extends beyond the school walls. The school has a new look and feel with new flowers, fresh and engaging bulletin boards, a relaxing conference room for parents and a calming room for students.
Even though Daigle has only been the principal of HES for a few months, the love she shares for her students and staff and they for her is evident. When walking into the school on Friday, there were pictures of Mrs. Daigle everywhere with the phrase “Daigle Day.”
To her surprise, the students planned a pep rally in her honor at the end of the day on Friday. They were decked out in their ASU gear and the students had made black and gold streamers, which they were waving wildly as she entered the gymnasium. They were also holding letters that spelled “Daigle” in black and gold. The Alexander Central Pep Band was on hand to celebrate Mrs. Daigle with music and the crowd of students and staff went wild when she entered.
She was stunned and overwhelmed with joy. She was told she was coming to an assembly to “Kiss a Pig” since her school won the canned food drive challenge for Alexander County Schools. They teased her by having her kiss a stuffed pig, then a baby live pig, and then ultimately her own husband decked out in a pig costume. She rolled with the punches and kissed them all and her students were beyond excited.
Her school showered her with gifts all day and their biggest surprise was commissioning a “Blessings Box” to be placed on campus in her honor. It will be filled with food, toiletries, and books for the community to use. Her staff knows her well already and knows that giving back to others was the best gift they could offer her.
Amber Davis, a teacher at Hiddenite, spoke on behalf of the staff and offered this quote, “True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not the enrichment of the leaders.” Those working under her leadership say that she has brought new energy and enthusiasm to their school with positive touches and a modeled work ethic that doesn’t quit. Even teachers at her previous schools still sing her praises as one of the best leaders they have ever worked for.
Amy Daigle is one to watch. After a few years of dreariness in schools due to the stresses of the Pandemic, she has brought a new ray of sunshine and positivity to her students and staff. Anyone who knows anything about educational leadership understands that getting people to buy into a vision of success is over half the battle and she is already doing that in her early months as a new principal.
She was very thankful to her counselors, Andrea Elder and Jordyn Mundy, and to her assistant principal, Ashley Jenkins, for pulling off this very special surprise.