Washington County Public Schools students begin summer vacation

'This is a great group of kids, and I'm going to miss them'

June 05, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Jayla Calderon shows her excitement as she walks out of Hancock Elementary School on Wednesday. Washington County of Public Schools are on summer break until August.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

HANCOCK — Students and teachers exchanged hugs outside Hancock Elementary School Wednesday morning as the lyrics “What time is it? Summertime. It’s our vacation,” blared from the school.

Some students already on their buses waved and shouted out “Love you” and “See you in the summer” to teachers who had lined up on the sidewalk to wave goodbye to students leaving in buses, cars and sports utility vehicles for the summer.

Except for seniors, whose school year ended earlier, Wednesday’s early dismissal was the last school day of the academic year for Washington County Public Schools.

During the last 40 minutes of the day in Heidi Potterfield’s third-grade class, Potterfield read from a book about abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s life to the students, asking them questions about what they learned so far and how they thought Tubman’s life would end.

Then the children played a favorite game, “mumball,” as they sat on their desks and tossed around a yellowish-green ball with rubbery tentacles and blinking lights.


Any student who made a bad throw, dropped the ball or talked during the game was declared “out.”

During the game, Potterfield complimented students for their sportsmanship, thanking Christian Saiz for being honest for saying he dropped the ball when she wasn’t looking.

Potterfield said they’ve played the game a few times this year, usually as a way for students to wind down after testing.

Before settling in after lunch to learn about Tubman, some students received hugs from lunch assistants Barb Starliper and Lisa Hendershot.

Not all of the students will return to Hancock Elementary in August for the new school year because some of them will be attending different schools.

Several students said they would miss their friends this summer.

“I feel very happy, but kind of sad because I like school, but I kind of like summer, too,” said Jett Gesford, 8.

“I like school because ... it gives you like a lot of education, and I like education. ... Sometimes when I go home, I watch the Science Channel,” Jett said.

Jett said he usually has water battles with his family during the summer.

Swimming was a popular activity planned for the summer.

Konner Pittman, 9, said he was looking forward to going to the pool, and staying up late and watching more TV.

Chloe Hess, 8, talked about getting to stay up late and play video games on her Wii and Xbox.

Chloe and Kayley Edmonds, 9, said they would miss science class and doing  experiments.

Asked what he would miss about school, Konner said: “My friends and, um, that’s it.”

Jasmine McCumbee, 9, was asking classmates to sign a teal shirt.

Jasmine said she was “kind of happy and sad” about the school year ending.

“Because I’ll miss everyone,” but Jasmine said she’ll get to go to the pool and visit her aunt.

Hunter Payne, 9, said he planned to play racing and dirt-bike video games, ride his real bicycle and sleep-in this summer.

“I’m going to miss my teacher. I’m going to miss my friends. I’m going to miss everyone in the school,” Hunter said.

After the buses pulled out, and the teachers filed back into the school, several teachers gathered in the lounge for ice cream.

Getting ready to join them, Potterfield said she was happy she would get to sleep-in and spend more time with her own children.

The end of the school year also brought sadness “because this is a great group of kids, and I’m going to miss them,” she said.

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