Simpsonville Elementary celebrates 20 years

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By Lisa King

The scene was festive, the kids were cheering and the teachers were smiling.

The gym at Simpsonville Elementary was packed Friday afternoon with the student body as teachers and school officials took time out to salute the school's first 20 years.

Duanne Puckett, community relations coordinator for the school system, who acted as Master of Ceremonies, kept the crowd in stitches with her recollections of years past.

"Back in 1989, when I was editor of The Sentinel-News, I visited every kindergarten class in the county," she said. "There was a student named Andy who was a head taller than all the other children in his class. He told me when he grew up he wanted to be a jockey."

She went on to say that now grown -- at 6 feet, 4 inches -- he did not meet that goal. He now works for NBC and CBS affiliates in Bowling Green.

The school's student body nearly has doubled since the school opened on this campus in 1989, up from 362 to 638.

Superintendent James Neihof wowed the young students by saying that if they thought a 20-year-old building was old, they should know that oldest building in the school system-Central Office on Main Street -- is 91 years old, having been built in 1918 and originally a high school.

The teachers laughed about some of the ways that things have changed at the school since 1989.

For instance, computers instead of old-fashioned typewriters, now grace the school office. Also, teachers and their "little helpers" no longer have to go outside and pound white clouds of chalk dust out of erasers. Instead, they use whiteboards and markers, which cause little fuss.

Twenty years ago, kids did most of their writing with pencil and paper; now they also use the keyboard. And teachers now do slide shows using PowerPoint instead of old-fashioned projectors.

Principal Carla Breeding concluded the program by emphasizing things that some things have not changed, such as "smiling, having fun, and learning lots of things to be smarter in the future."

 Simpsonville Elementary staff members with 20 years of service   • Pat White • Elissa Oldham • Brenda Breidert • Marie Armstrong • Gail Russell • Cindy King • Connie Merle • Cheryl Block • Maggie Nicholson