Brookwood Elementary School bustled with activity Friday as pupils held graduation ceremonies and took part in a talent show to celebrate the last day of this school year.
Charlee Vaughan, a fourth-grader, said she will miss her friends and teachers during the summer. To remember them, she created her own yearbook and roamed the hallways of Brookwood Friday morning getting signatures.
Still, the 9-year-old said she’s ready for fifth grade.
“I want to make some new friends and meet my new teachers,” she said.
Charlee also will meet a new administrator next school year as Brookwood Elementary Principal Brenda Jones celebrated her final days of school.
After a more than 40-year career, Jones is retiring. Her final day is Wednesday.
During an afternoon talent show, pupils and faculty planned to present Jones with a painting to better remember them.
Each branch of the gold and brown tree in the painting, sitting atop a grassy mound with a purple sky as a backdrop, represented the school’s grade levels, said Brookwood art teacher Deborah Sailors.
Members of the Brookwood staff each painted a section and pupils painted leaves inscribed with their names and pasted them to the artwork.
“Mrs. Jones always has been such a big supporter of the arts and arts education,” Sailors said. “We wanted to do something arts oriented to honor her.”
Bel Air Elementary Principal Mark Boyd also intends to retire in a few days. He spent his last day with pupils feeding them cotton candy and watching them bounce on inflatable playground attractions.
“It’s kind of a mixture of emotions,” Boyd said of his mood on Friday afternoon. “I know I’m ready to say my goodbyes, but I’m going to miss the staff and I’m going to miss the kids.”
Next school year might be the last for Bel Air Elementary. School officials intend to close the school next year and rezone its pupils to new Evans and Martinez elementary schools.
Boyd said he initially considered staying for Bel Air’s final year.
“At first, we thought this was going to be the last year. ... I thought I’d be retiring in that last year and already started making plans for my retirement,” he said.
Knowing he’ll be in the last class of fifth-graders ever to attend Bel Air Elementary, saddened Jacob Strickland.
“I’m going to miss it,” said the 9-year-old. “I’ve always gone to this school. My mom went to this school. I don’t want to see it gone.”