Anna Grace Bain, after two years away at dental hygiene school in Oak Ridge, is coming back to McMinnville. “I really miss home,” she says.
She graduated in May from Roane State Community College’s dental hygiene school and is soon to be practicing in the local area, possibly at Honeycutt Family Dentistry in Manchester. Bain says of entering the workforce, “I feel like I’m prepared for it, but it’s just still so scary making that leap.”
She says dental hygiene school was quite arduous. “That was my absolute life. I didn’t do anything else the past two years pretty much besides study, and we had to see a certain amount of patients each semester.”
Those patients for her to practice on were her parents, her grandparents, her sister Abbey, her sister’s friends, basically anybody she could find. Bain found finding people to practice on was a chore. “Appointments were four hours because we were just learning, so that’s a long time to sit there to get your teeth cleaned.”
Her parents would taxi intrepid volunteers up to Oak Ridge and back. In addition, “my apartment was kind of a hotel there for a while,” she says.
Bain and her 11 dental hygiene school classmates leaned on each other a lot over the past two years. “I’m pretty sure they’ve seen me cry more than my family,” she said.
Growing up in McMinnville, Bain attended Boyd Christian School through eighth grade. She played slow-pitch softball in town, then at Midway, then at Morrison. She also excelled as a Lady Bronco basketball player.
One of her best friends from that time was teammate Morgan DeWeese, in whose wedding she will serve as maid of honor in a couple weeks. “We talk to each other all the time,” Bain says.
As a kid Bain had a penchant for getting injured. “I’ve broken so many bones growing up,” she says. One time in third grade she got hurt playing dodgeball at Boyd. “A boy slid in and hit my pinky toe, and it was hanging off my foot,” she remembers. Other broken bones came as a result of playing in a bouncy house and playing softball.
After eighth grade, Bain made the jump to public school, where she made friends with folks like Jayden Smith and Gracie Judkins. She ended up playing four years for the Warren County High School Lady Pioneers basketball team, putting her 5-foor-10 frame to use in the post.
Her senior year she took a class (taught by health sciences teacher Lequita Maxwell) in which students chose a place and job-shadowed there throughout the school year. Bain chose Hickory Creek Dental Arts and spent time observing dentist Megan Hamblen Taylor and the dental hygienists there.
After graduating from high school in 2017, Bain spent two years at Motlow before being accepted into Roane State and heading off to Oak Ridge. She had made excellent grades at Motlow, but she found Roane State was tougher sledding. “I was wanting A’s but I learned that you don’t get those too easily in hygiene school,” she says.
In her spare time Bain likes hanging out with her friends and also with her family, a group of cinemaniacs. “My family’s big into movies,” she says.
Bain prefers romantic comedies, Disney movies, Hallmark movies, and “Shrek.” She also loves “50 First Dates” and other Adam Sandler fare. She is very well-acquainted with one Sandler movie in particular. “I know every word to ‘Just Go With It,’” she says. “Every time it comes on TV, that’s what we have on. We know every word to it.”
When it comes to music, she likes country and rocks out to the likes of Rascal Flatts, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Morgan Wallen, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift. “I like her old stuff,” she says of Swift. “’You Belong With Me’ and ‘Our Song,’ ‘White Horse,’ songs like that. I guess that’s kind of what we grew up with.”
Bain is happy to be back in Warren County and is open to putting down roots in the area. “I really enjoy McMinnville. I don’t see why everybody feels like they have to move away. I like how it’s kind of a mixture of small town but there’s still some stuff here to do.”