DECATUR – The last day of school can be both happy and sad.
At Muffley School on Monday, students lined up in two rows, with signs wishing the sixth-graders a happy summer and good luck in middle school. As they waited, they hugged each other and talked about summer plans.
When the sixth-graders emerged from the building, cheers broke out and the soon-to-be middle-schoolers slapped hands with their younger counterparts as they headed for the buses.
“One of the girls was crying,” said sixth-grade teacher Jobeth Sweeney. “A lot of them have been (at Muffley) since kindergarten.”
Most of them will be going to Thomas Jefferson Middle School next year, so they'll still see one another, but it's not quite the same, said Lynna Peck, who shed a few tears herself at saying good-bye to her students.
The March to Middle School, as the event is called, began last year when Principal Carrie Hogue decided she wanted to give the kids a rousing send-off. The students attend an open house at their middle school and get a tour, and teachers at Muffley prepare them to use lockers and move from class to class, but it's still a little nerve-wracking to leave the familiar halls and faces.
“We wanted to give the kids a happy memory of their time leaving Muffley as a student,” Hogue said. “Then the little kids have something to look forward to.”
The younger students made up their own signs to hold, with messages such as “Congrats, 6th graders” and “Have fun in middle school.”
One young man wore a T-shirt with the message: “Sorry, I'm no longer accepting homework.”
Several students held a red sign, the official Muffley school color, with the message, “Good luck in Jr. High!” and once all the students had boarded their buses, the entire Muffley staff took that sign across Country Club Road and sent all their students home for the summer with cheers and waves and a ringing bell, before the teachers went back into the building for an afternoon's worth of professional development.
“By Thursday, I'll be ready for them all to come back,” Hogue said. “I love having (students) here.”