During Sumiton’s spring semester last year, six school employees welcomed seven tiny bundles of joy into their lives. Yes, seven babies to six families — one was a set of twins.
“It was an absolute delight because it created such a positive atmosphere in the school,” said Sumiton Principal Paige Skalnik. “Everybody was concerned about everybody else. It was just a great year, and a great thing to watch.”
Third-grade teacher Amanda Wilson, fifth- through eighth-grade counselor Ashleigh Lockhart and second-grade teacher Courtney Kyzer had their babies in May — Annleigh Cate Lockhart, May 5; Case Wilson, May 20; and Chandli Kyzer, May 29. The oldest of the infants, Mary Patton, born Jan. 11, belonged to second-grade teacher Catherine Willingham. Fifth-grade teacher Amy Hall gave birth to twins, Stephen and Mary Elizabeth, on March 5, and assistant principal Chris Stephenson and his wife had Courtlyn on June 2.
Skalnik said it was an exciting time during the fall semester with teachers finding out the good news; however, it was a little challenging.
The majority of maternity leaves were avoidable because four of the babies were born close to the school year ending.
Each new mother had her own individual baby shower, but Skalnik said she plans to throw the mommies, and daddy, a “surprise” shower soon.
The women laughed when they said becoming pregnant was “in the water” at Sumiton last year.
“That was actually the running joke,” Skalnik added.
“Yeah, ‘Don’t drink the water,’ they told me that my first day here, and then the second week of school I found out that I was pregnant,” one of the teachers said laughing.
Four of the women are first-time mothers. This is Wilson’s third child and Stephenson’s fourth.
Three of the families had their babies at St. Vincent's in Birmingham while the other three families had theirs at Brookwood Medical Center.
When asked how the good news traveled to Skalnik, Lockhart commented saying they told their principal, “Mrs. Skalnik, we’re sorry there’s another one. ... Who’s next was the running joke for a little while.”
Everything worked out accordingly, Skalnik said. The teachers’ schedules were adjusted to meet doctor appointments and substitute teachers agreeably stepped in when needed.
“I just think it’s a blessing,” Skalnik said. “It’s just an absolute, unique blessing.”