The clanging of desks and the grinding of pencil sharpeners filled Kershaw Elementary on Sunday afternoon. Principal Kelli Farmer led a group of teachers and volunteers in changing several rooms into classrooms, for the more than one hundred displaced 7th graders due to start attending on Tuesday.
Farmer’s message to the 7th graders “Welcome to our school. You are part of the family.” It is likely that for some a return to familiar ground. Kershaw Elementary serves as a feeder school to Andrew Jackson Middle School.
A spirit of optimism can be heard in the comments of the workers. It is the spirit of community that helps make this town a home. Feelings that workers doubted would be present in a bigger city.
The littlest of details were considered. Pencils for a week of use were sharpened to be spread among the classrooms. Care baskets of supplies were lined on the lunchroom table, to be filled with items donated. Principal Farmer moved from room to room counting chairs, so each room would have enough. Tables and desks were raised to accommodate the middle schoolers
The students were displaced because of a fire at their school. An accidental fire broke out in the janitorial supply closet at the rear of the cafeteria. The fire filled the Middle School with smoke, and now school is being cleaned. That cleaning process is likely to take some time. The School District and the local schools developed a plan to keep students learning. The 6th graders will attend at Heath Springs Elementary. The 7th graders will attend at Kershaw Elementary, and the 8th graders will attend at Andrew Jackson High School.
There are many needs for the students. Books, paper, pens, and pencils are rapidly being gathered. Hope, the love of a neighbor, and a sense of belonging, these Kershaw and Heath Springs has in abundance.