1923-2017: Sullivan County closes oldest school

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- This week marks the end of a long history for hundreds of families in Sullivan County, as the school system prepares to shut down it’s oldest school.

Wednesday morning we met with Weaver Elementary School Principal Randy Gentry.

Gentry said he has spent a total of 25 years at the school, 16 of those as principal.

We walked down the halls with Gentry and found walls that once were covered with posters and student drawings, were now empty.

“We started taking everything down, sending it home with students if it belonged to the students. We need to have everything down before we vacate the building. Friday will be the teachers last day working here,” Gentry said.

Earlier this year, a structural engineer recommended the school district strongly consider vacating the building by the end of this school year.

The county’s board of education agreed with that recommendation, deciding that this year would be the last for the school.

Most of the 280 students at Weaver will transfer to Bluff City Middle and Bluff City Elementary School.

Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski said most of the staff will follow.

As Gentry continued to walk us around the school Wednesday afternoon, we found books and boxes stacked everywhere.

“The slightest thing that talks about nostalgia or reminiscing brings tears. The kids will be fine, its us big kids that have the difficult time moving,” Gentry said.

Rafalowski said no decisions have been made about the building’s permanent use in the future.

Copyright WJHL 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

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