After a hiatus of more than two weeks, Liberty County students returned to school Tuesday.
That means school speed zones are back in effect, and drivers should keep an eye out for children on the move. It also means many students are looking forward to catching up with friends or spring break in April.
At Jordye Bacon Elementary School, it was a bittersweet day as students returned to a campus that they likely will not attend next year, when the campus converts to housing middle school Ombudsman programs and the Coastal Academy.
“With the closing of our school and everything, my goal is to focus on this year and to make sure that we have our kids prepared to go wherever they go next year and to try and keep my staff focused, and they’ve done an excellent job,” JBE Principal Dr. James “Mike” Johnson said. “It’s traumatic, the closing of a school — I’m not going to lie, I made that known to Dr. Scherer — but moving forward, we’re all excited about new beginnings, and basically, I’ve focused on this year.”
Students seemed less aware of coming changes.
Teachers’ children Keighan Jack, a fourth-grader, first-grader James Eldridge and third-grader David Black Jr. talked about their breaks outside the office.
After trips to Chicago that included sledding, visits from relatives who live upstate and some quality time with family, the boys agreed that they’re eager to return to school, though they couldn’t explain exactly why.
Johnson’s next months also will bring a new challenge.
Though pending approval from the board of education, Johnson also has been tapped to serve as Button Gwinnett Elementary’s principal through the end of the year. That school’s principal died in December.
“It’s going to be a challenge for me and for the staff here and the staff there, but I have a strong staff here,” he said. “We’ve got a foundation here that I’m sure will hold up whether I’m here every day, all day or no days.”
Liberty County Schools Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer confirmed the move.
Johnson said he met briefly with BGE staff before winter break began and spent Monday getting acquainted with them. The BGE staff also has shown strength, especially through the past month.
“My goal is to learn the dynamics, get to know the staff and the students, and I’m real impressed with the enthusiasm of the staff yesterday,” Johnson said.