Monday, June 17, 2024
Happening Now

Park View Teachers Reminisce On History

Wednesday marked the final full day of school at Cookeville’s Park View Elementary School.

The final Park View classes celebrated with a water day and bouncy houses. For the staff, it was a day to reflect. Third grade teacher Betsy Story has taught at Park View for 48 years.

“One that made me like ugh, is one grandfather came to me and he said you had me and now you had my grandson,” Story said. “I said I didn’t know I was that old so, anyway but it really is, it just makes you feel good when they want their kids to come back to Park View.”

Third grade teacher Kari Winningham has family ties to the school that opened in 1952. Her father attended Park View in the 1950s. She did the same in the 90s. Now, her two daughters call the school home.

“It’s a very sentimental day,” Winningham said. “It’s been full of fun. But, you know, we’re packing and we’re moving. And I love driving to campus every morning and seeing that great big place, playground with all the beautiful trees and just all the memories I had as a kid.”

PE Teacher Wayne Haggard has spent 28 years at Park View. He said it’s been so busy wrapping up the school year, he has not had time to reflect.

“I think when we start packing and moving boxes, that’s when it’s going to hit,” Haggard said.

Secretary Susan Wall said the staff looks forward to the new facility being finished south of town. That facility will open this fall while the old facility will be remodeled to serve as a Pre-K Center for Cookeville.

“When you’ve lived in a long place in the same place for a long time, and you’re excited about the new place and all the new things, but this just feels like home,” Wall said. “It’ll always be that way. And I think not only for me, but for many people that have been in this building. We had an alumni night a few weeks back, and the turnout was phenomenal. And kids that had just left here last year to people that were here almost the first year it was built, they had gone to school here. They taught here, and their faces. And when you, I got to greet them at the door. And welcome back to Parkview is what we said. And it was very heart wrenching. And this is part of history in Cookeville.”

Over the years, the ages served at Park View changed, with students up to eighth grade attending the school at one time, according to Winningham. As Winningham boxes up her classroom, she will leave with decades of memories. She said she loves everything about Park View.

“I love the way the gym floor creaks,” Winningham said. “I love the smell of kindergarten. It still smells like crayons and glue when I went here. I love the story steps in the library. I love the washroom that we had when I went here. I just love how it’s a little bit cozier. The hallways are smaller. Every teacher knows all the students and all the families, and I think that’s really special.”

Story said that the real treasures of the school are the memories and mementos left behind by the school’s alumni.

“The alumni is what makes it really, truly special,” Story said. “They feel so strongly about Park View.”