A Tribute to Palmersville School


Nancy McClure

(Formerly published in Hometown magazine, then again in 2006 in the Palmersville Historical Society Newsletter)


     On May 30, 2003, an era ended for Palmersville, Tennessee.  The teachers and staff of Palmersville School watched as the buses pulled away for the last time.  For those of us who have roots deeply rooted in Palmersville School, it was indeed a very sad day.

I started to school there, graduated there, and my boys went there.  Also, for the last 14 years I have worked there as an educational assistant.

My first memory of Palmersville School goes back to the white frame structure that stood very close to where the current building is.  In addition to this, there were classrooms in the same building that housed the gym and the lunchroom.  Agriculture and shop classes were held in a separate building.  In the 1970's another building was built for an additional elementary classroom.  Later, this building was used for a science room and lab.  When the current building was built (1981), it was joined to the gym structure, and a new Ag building was added.

When I was going through my photographs trying to find the one that  accompanies this article, I came across so many that I have made over the years.  Little did I know at the time I made them how precious they would become.  A flood of memories came back as I looked at them, some of which I had forgotten I had made.  All of those taken in the classrooms, halls, lunchroom, gym, and outside have taken on a new meaning.

Before May 30 you looked at only the people in the pictures.  Now you look at the whole image and remember that certain bulletin board that was put up to celebrate a season or holiday, the work written on the board, or the kindergarten handiwork displayed on the wall.  These photos are bits of our history.

When I look at our ballgame photos, I can still imagine sitting in the bleachers and cheering on our beloved Pirates or working in the concession stand.  The concession stand duty was a "fringe benefit" of being a PTO officer.  It was a lot of work, but we had a lot of fun, too.

In this article I chose to keep facts, such as dates, numbers of graduating classes, etc., to a minimum.  I just wanted to convey a small portion of my feelings.  The memories that have been made here at Palmersville School will last forever, and the friendships made are even more precious and hopefully will last a lifetime.

Palmersville School may be closed but let us not forget the quality of education that our children received here from an exceptional group of teachers.

There are so many teachers that you think of when you speak of Palmersville, and I can't begin to list all that I could.  I had some wonderful people who taught me.  One memory comes to mind-the summer before my 6th grade year, I found out that our class would have a male teacher.  I had not had a man teacher up to that point, so it was a little unnerving.

Mary Carney, near Latham, had a library in her home and my mother would take me down to check out books.  That summer she told us that her son-in-law would start teaching in Palmersville in the fall.  Mary's daughter is June Carney Childs.  I dreaded the thought of a male teacher all summer.  Well, Brad Childs did in fact start that year, and as they say, "The rest is history." My apprehension was unfounded.  I dearly loved having "Mr. Childs" for a teacher.

We had a lot of good times, and there were sad times as well.  As we laughed together and cried together, we were a family, not just co-workers. To quote Mr. Ron Gifford, former English teacher at Palmersville, "to know where we are going, we must remember where we have been."

Thank you Palmersville School for the memories.  I miss you.