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SHES holds final day

Thursday, South Highlands Elementary School kindergarten teacher Judy Phillips said goodbye to her class, just as she has done every year for the last 25 years.

This Thursday’s goodbye was especially difficult, however, as Phillips not only said goodbye to her students but also goodbye to the school building and classroom where she has worked for the last quarter century. In August, the teachers and students at SHES will move across town to the new Opp Elementary School.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” she said. “I went to school here; I’ve taught for 25 years in the same classroom. I’m excited about the new move, but there’s also a lot of memories that I’ll have of this place — both good and bad.”

Students and teachers alike were excited about the prospect of moving to a new school next year.

“It’s going to be exciting,” SHES third grader Ariyon Hightower said. “We’re going to have nice clean bathrooms, and hopefully no more leaks in the roof.”

Second grader Jaylin Parker said it would be fun to start at Opp Elementary School because “everything will be new.” First grade teacher Amy Bracke is just happy that students and faculty will no longer have to dread bad weather.

“It’s rough here at SHES because everything’s not connected under one roof,” she said. “So if it’s raining, or really cold outside, we have to take the kids outside when we’re moving from building to building. At the new school, it’s all fully enclosed, so that will be great.”

Of course, the students aren’t in any hurry to move to OES just yet. They still have three months of summer vacation to enjoy.

“I’m excited (about summer),” first grader Ariyid Hightower said. “We’re probably going to go to the beach. Hopefully we can go swimming.”

SHES principal Brett Kinsaul, who has been principal for five years, said it would be a busy summer as the staff makes the move to the new building.

“During the last semester, our teachers have been already cleaning out a lot of things,” he said. “We’ve got our plans in place for when we move, as soon as we get the ‘OK’ from the construction crew.

“It’s going to be hard, because there are a lot of memories here. But we’re also looking forward to the new memories that we’ll be making at Opp Elementary School.”