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Carol Perkins: School consolidation offers nicer place to learn

But consolidation, the closing of North Metcalfe Elementary, Summer Shade, and Edmonton Elementary, combining them into a brand new facility in Edmonton, does not however, come without a price
The next earlier Carol Perkins Column: Carol Perkins: Best graduation - WKU Spring 2013

By Carol Perkins

The End of An Era. This month has been a time for celebrating the past and moving toward the future for students at North Metcalfe Elementary, Summer Shade Elementary and Edmonton Elementary, the three elementary schools in Metcalfe County. Following the trend across the state of consolidating primary schools into one main center, Metcalfe County is ready to open its doors to such a school this fall. A brand new facility will offer students a much nicer place to learn, but none of this comes without a price. The price is the closing of their beloved community schools.

I attended the homecoming at Summer Shade Elementary last weekend. Under the leadership of teacher Jay White and his planning committee, I was certainly impressed by the time and effort devoted to such a wonderful presentation. Scattered on every table in the Zebra decorated cafeteria were pictures and trophies and scrapbooks on loan from former students and teachers. Even though I didn't attend the school, I enjoyed looking at pictures of my high school classmates and of my husband who did attend there. As a matter of fact, he vows that he and a few of his buddies were the first ones paddled in that new brick school that replaced the white wooden structure there until 1959.

"We had skipped school one day," he said. "The principal was James Depp and he was not going to let us get by with that, so he took us in his office, flipped on the intercom so the whole school could hear, and paddled each of us. That kept down the school skipping!"

North Metcalfe has actually had two events this year: a "Final Roar" basketball tournament and then a cookout just a few days ago. Edmonton Elementary hosted an End of the Era event in the new middle school with performances from the band and each elementary class. Over all, the closing of these schools has ended with high anticipation of becoming a county of Hornets, mixed left with a lifetime of memories of being Bluejays, Zebras, and Tigers.

Speaking of memories, have you ever wondered why school memories, whether good or bad, are always vivid? We may not remember what clothes we wore yesterday, but we remember each classroom, each teacher, and most of our classmates.

Even though he stands firm in his declaration that he never liked one minute of school, Guy wandered the hallway and ended up in his eighth grade classroom, recalling some of his memories with his buddies, special programs with Dimple Branstetter at the piano, wearing little string ties in the choir, and playing basketball in the old gym with Junior Branstetter as his coach. I believe what he disliked was being confined!

Barren County has also seen many changes since I was a young girl and going to the "grade" schools when our Bluejays played either Hiseville or Temple Hill or Park City in those old buildings with gym floors that came to the wall. With fond memories, I think of the girls I met, now grandmothers, who remain lifelong acquaintances. I have often said, "I think I knew your mother when she was a cheerleader for Temple Hill."

I knew many Glasgow girls and boys from my school days in Metcalfe County. We were great rivals on the court, but great friends as we circled Jerry's or hung out at the drive-in or dated boys from each town. I knew girls and boys from Burkesville, Albany, Tompkinsville, Columbia, and Greensburg because of elementary and high school events from sports to the Beta Club and even know them today.

School memories are not created by buildings, but by teachers, classmates, and administrators. Memories are created by mothers who baked cupcakes, fathers who coached little league games, citizens who showed up for events to cheer students on, and businesses who donated money to make things happen. I am thankful to those who made my schools days more than just a picture in a yearbook. - Carol Perkins

This story was posted on 2013-05-26 02:18:16
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