Emotional last day for McDonough Elementary School

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

Friday was the last day of the 2014-15 school year, but it was also the last day ever for McDonough Elementary School.

Faculty and staff of McDonough Elementary School say goodbye to students on the facility’s last day. Special photo

More than six decades after it first opened, the school is closing to make way for Patrick Henry Academy, which will be moving to the campus this fall. The decision was made in January by the Henry County Board of Education.

Attendance zones have been adjusted so that McDonough Elementary students can be absorbed by other schools, including Walnut Creek and Wesley Lakes elementary schools, both of which have the capacity to handle the move.

According to the Henry County School System’s web site, McDonough Elementary first opened its doors in the fall of 1954 serving grades 1-7. Later it would become McDonough Primary and open to kindergarten through second grades before reclaiming its original name in 2002 and serving students in preschool through fifth grade.

“If the halls of MES could talk, they would speak of the thousands of boys and girls that have been educated for the past 61 years, several of whom still come back today as mentors and tutors. They would speak of the hundreds of teachers who have covered the school walls and classrooms with displays of student papers, artwork and most especially love,” according to a statement on the school’s web page by Juli Gilbert, media specialist for McDonough Elementary.

Left: Principal Jolie Hardin waves to the buses carrying the students home for the last time from McDonough Elementary. Right: Assistant Principal Kayla Holmes. Special photo

“This is a bittersweet goodbye as we, who have been students in this facility, have taught in the classrooms, have prepared the lunches, have kept the building spotless, have overseen the administrative operations, have fixed the boo boos, have greeted the visitors, have entrusted our children in the care of those inside, all go our separate ways.”

The statement concluded with a quote from Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”