Most school principals are breathing a collective sigh of relief this time of year.
Those from McDuffie County are no exception.
"It's pretty tough for the kids to stay focused because of the end being so near," said Dearing Elementary Principal Darrell Wells. "Teachers of course, they're professionals and they have plans for the summer like pursuing advanced degrees, yet they're anxious for the end to come as well."
Despite the sense that students and teachers alike are engaged with the thoughts of summer, there is still some business to be done. Classes end Tuesday and at Thomson High School, final exams will continue this week right up until graduation Friday night, 8 p.m. at the Brickyard.
Principal Bill Reese definitely senses a feeling of excitement in the air, despite the pressure of finals.
"Well, final exams do count 20 percent of their final grade, so you've got a little leverage on them, but they're very excited," he said.
Things are a little more somber at Dearing Elementary, where Wells is retiring at the end of the school year.
"I'm suffering with mixed emotions," he said. "I hate to leave the people here; it's a wonderful crew to work with. I've got to get my head together for the next challenge."
Wells is moving on to become Principal at Augusta Christian next year.
Norris Elementary Principal Steve Rhodes didn't realize what he was getting himself into when he vowed that if the school exceeded its $7,500 goal for Relay for Life, that he would spend the night on the roof of the school. However, $8,000 later, Rhodes did just that, and slept underneath the stars Friday night. The money was raised in the memory of student Lemart Mack, who recently passed away due to cancer.
Like other schools, the excitement is palpable. "Everyone is excited about sunny, warm days ahead and family vacations," said Rhodes. "We had a fantastic year here, and we are very thankful for the strong community support extended by our stakeholders."
All schools will be conducting various summer school programs, including Dearing Elementary's Enrichment Program, which emphasizes art, drama, writing, and physical education. Thomson High School will be busy constructing several new additions to its facilities, including a new physical education complex, additional seating for its track and field facility, and on-campus tennis courts.
Meanwhile, administrators at Briarwood Academy are already looking to the summer.
This summer, students from the school will be on the road in educational travel seminars: some to Grand Canton and some to Yellowstone. Other students are participating in various honors programs and there's also various sports programs coming up.
"We had an excellent year," said headmaster John Hammond. "It just passed so quickly."
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