06/09/06 — Hello, summer, Wayne students get ready for school break

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Hello, summer, Wayne students get ready for school break

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 9, 2006 1:49 PM

Thursday was the last day of school for students in Wayne County Public Schools.

The half day featured graduations for those leaving kindergarten and middle schools, awards ceremonies and, for those in high school, final exams.

It was a frenzied day -- exciting for students, hectic for teachers and staff making final tabulations for report cards and preparations for graduation ceremonies.

In the office at Carver Heights Elementary School, parent Trumanda Best had just come from her son Eugene McBrayer's eighth-grade graduation at Dillard Middle School. She was there to pick up her two sons, fifth-grader Christopher McCall and first-grader Mylik McCall.

The mother of five boys said for her, the last day of school is one of "running, running, running."

In the final minutes before the bell rang, members of the school's safety patrol gathered one last time in Mary McEachern's office for instructions and gifts of appreciation.

The fifth-grade students had mixed emotions about leaving the school.

"It's fun, and it's kind of sad because you're going to miss your friends," said Sh'maughn Wright.

Chanika Davis said, "It's a good day but a little bit sad." She said she would especially miss a teacher who is moving back to New Zealand.

Destiny Cook said she will miss the teachers and the fun activities at the school. She admitted to being a bit nervous about going to middle school in the fall, but is looking forward to a trip to Disney World this summer with her dad.

"I had fun on the last day of school," said Tykeela Davis, whose morning had consisted of helping clean the classroom and playing games.

Preonia Adamson said she hadn't made specific plans for the summer but hoped to enjoy time with friends.

Qui'Nita Thigpen anticipates spending the next few months in Georgia with family, where she plans to "have fun, swim, eat, and sleep."

Joann Williams said while the last day of school was fun, she was glad not to "have to work no more" for awhile. Despite that, she said she looks forward to "new teachers, new friends, new work" when she moves on to middle school.

Carver Heights music teacher Kevin Alston said it has been a "phenomenal year" at the school, especially in his department.

"We visited other schools this year, performed in other areas of the community. It's just been a great success all around," he said.

The end of school is bittersweet, he said, especially when it comes time for students to leave.

"We started a band program up and have to start up all over again, but are excited about what we have started," he said. "You hate to see the kids leave you have worked with all year. You just have so much love for them and concern. I wish them the best. I hope they have a great summer and let's look forward to next year."

Roxanne Butler is the parent of a child at the school and has been both a volunteer and a substitute teacher.

"It's a happy day, the last day," she said. "I enjoy working for Carver Heights and volunteering where I get the chance."

At Tommy's Road Elementary School, parent Laura Bartlett was picking up sons Brett, 11, and Brooks, 9.

"I'm so ready for it to be over," she said before heading back into the building with bouquets of flowers for staff and teachers. Her next stop was Norwayne Middle School, where daughter Meghan just finished eighth grade.

"Next year, I'll have one at each school," Mrs. Bartlett said. Brooks will be back at Tommy's Road, while Brett moves to Norwayne and Meghan enters high school at Charles B. Aycock.

Inside the school office, Tommy's Road principal Patsy Faison gave last-minute instructions over the intercom before classes were dismissed for the break.

"Read over the summer, have some fun over the summer, and relax," she said before handing the microphone to three fifth-graders who asked to sing a farewell song to classmates.

"They would like to send you off as we depart from this place, but not from each other's hearts," she said.

Students Austin Kemp, Grayson Wells and Justin Thomas then joined in a chorus of the pop song, "Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye" before returning to their classes.

Assistant principal Sheila Wolfe and Kim Copeland, curriculum facilitator and parent coordinator at the school, said it had been a great school year.

"The children just keep getting smarter and smarter. We just love the children," Ms. Copeland said.

But the workday was not over for educators. Once the building cleared out, the staff planned to celebrate by making preparations for next year over a "working lunch," courtesy of the school's PTA, Ms. Copeland said.

Fremont STARS Elementary School Principal Debbie Ogburn said students' work might be done, but teachers have a few more days to go.

And once they leave, "our time just begins," she said. "We begin for the next year and we do a lot of planning, meeting with our leadership teams."

Mrs. Ogburn said the summer months for administrators allow for projects that can't be done when the buildings are occupied -- such as cleaning and preparations for student programs.

The next few months are also a time for "summer school" for educators, she said, noting she will take seven of her teachers to a Teacher Academy in Cullowhee to attend a workshop on incorporating more technology in the classroom.