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Education interrupted
Boys Carpenter Vecerra Davis
Sixth-graders, from left, Nathan Carpenter, Alex Vecerra and Gabriel Davis change classes on the first day back to school from their extended holiday vacation.

Warren County teachers, students and their parents have experienced a roller coaster ride with local weather situations going up and down. Due to frigid weather conditions and a sprinkler break at Hickory Creek Elementary, their 21-day vacation ended Tuesday with all schools starting on time.

Classes were back in session for three days before a blast of frigid weather closed schools Friday. As luck would have it, they are already scheduled to be out of school on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

There was a flurry of activity and excitement at Warren County Middle School those three days, with almost 800 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders returning to class.

Principal Gerald Tidwell was happy to be back following the extended holiday.

“It was a long one,” said Tidwell. “Actually, I think most of the students are happy to be back. They stayed home so long and are now ready to be with their friends.”

He felt positive about seeing the students again, noticing the smiles on their faces and just how much they miss each other.

“We have wonderful kids, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said Tidwell. “I was at the high school level for 17 years, and never realized how much I would enjoy this age group.”

Just this week, the faculty introduced the Positive, Behavior, Support (PBS) program to the student body, where they are able to earn tickets for various rewards.

“Most of the elementary schools have positive behavior programs, but this is the first one for us,” said Tidwell. “It seems they are excited about PBS and looking forward to it.”

School state test scores are never far away from the minds of educators, and Tidwell says it is one of their goals to do well on them.

“We will discuss the tests, but we are not stressing on the outcome,” said Tidwell. “I want my teachers and students to enjoy school and give their best effort every day. Whatever happens with the scores, I will be happy.”

Eighth-grade office workers Jessica Chastain and Bella Cantrell enjoyed their vacation time, saying they didn’t do anything special, but spent time with family, ate a lot and slept.

“I did get to go to the New Year's celebration in Nashville,” said Cantrell. “Even though it was cold, we had fun.”

Athletes Hailey Simpson and Bella Pennington were experiencing some muscle discomfort following a condition session Monday.

Simpson plays both soccer and basketball, with Pennington on the basketball team.
“To get back in shape, we had to do conditioning exercises and run through the school,” said Pennington. 

Talented actor Eloy Fernandez had a busy time, auditioning for the stage play “Beauty and the Beast,” and securing the part of Chip. Fernandez, a sixth-grade student, has been in two plays and is looking forward to playing Chip.