School’s out for summer

Published 9:17 pm Friday, June 15, 2012

Teachers and staff at Florence Bowser Elementary get animated as they wave goodbye to students on the last day of school Friday. Some of the kids will return to the school next year; others will move on to other schools.

School’s out for the summer, and students were given an especially enthusiastic send-off at Florence Bowser Elementary Friday.

As buses pulled away from outside the lunchroom for the final time for the 2011-2012 school year, teachers and staff stood together waving and cheering.

Principal Fran Barnes said the last day of school is “always sad.”


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“This is my first year here,” she said. “I miss them already.

“I think the kids are sad too, a little bit, even though they act like they’re happy.”

Also on Friday, Florence Bowser held the last of its graduation ceremonies, for first grade.

The school caters for special needs, Early Start, kindergarten and first-grade students.

“We have a different day for each grade level,” Barnes said.

Away from the bus loop, in the cafeteria, kids looking lonesome and excited at the same time waited by the side door to be collected by parents and grandparents.

Tash Beckwith, arriving to pick up daughter Noel, who was in kindergarten this year, said it was a “really good” day, if not also a little sad.

“We’re going to go to the beach and on a family vacation, and to the library and some of the museums in the area,” Tash Beckwith said of the family’s summer plans, saying her daughter has been “very excited.”

Toni Elkin was collecting grandson Christopher Kerr, who will be attending Elephant’s Fork Elementary in the next school year.

“It’s a teary day,” Elkin said. “I have volunteered at different functions here and gone on field trips.

“Everyone here is just so friendly; it’s like another family.”

Gerry Ottersten, another grandparent, was picking up Nicky Antinarelli, another one off to Elephant’s Fork.

“This is an emotional day because he’s had such a fantastic time,” the grandmother said. “The atmosphere at this school is so wonderful.”

They’ll also be going to the beach, she said. A trip to Busch Gardens is in the cards as well.

“I have a lot of other outside activities planned, and we’ll visit other relatives,” Ottersten continued.

Pat Mims, a grandfather this time, said it “feels good” to be picking up Parker Mims on the last day of school.

“He’s going home to go swimming,” Pat Mims said.