Former students recall East La Follette Elementary

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(NOTE: This story has been posted virtually the same way it aired, and is meant to read as a dialog between friends instead of a news story.)

CAMPBELL COUNTY (WVLT) – Thursday marked the end of an era in one East Tennessee community, as two elementary schools closed their doors forever.

The pair of La Follette schools, known as East End and West End were closed so that they can be consolidated into the new La Follette Elementary School.

On Thursday, the final boxes at East La Follette Elementary were loaded up; each packed with decades of memories.

"I always enjoy coming back and peeping in there, its part of me," said Nancy Leach who has 35 years worth of nostalgia within the East halls.

She also has a ton more memories if you count her time as a student at East, when her mother taught and her uncle was principal.

"It's in my blood," she said.

For Leach, there are too many good times to count, many of which come from a single classroom.

“That is the room you were in Stacy,” she said.

My desk was here, then there.

"You always enjoyed reading and wanted to read to the children everyday when we came back from lunch,” said Mrs. Leach. “You would get on that stool and read with such expression that no one would believe"

Similar stories come from down the hall in Mr. Larry Parks 4th grade class.

"You would always come up and talk,” said Mr. Parks, “you enjoyed your talking."

It's those thoughts and even smells that will stay with students and faculty.

For Mr. Parks, his last day in the place he still calls home was bitter sweet.

“I really hate to see it close, but that's just part of life,” he said. “There are chapters that open and close and this is a chapter that has to close"

Mutual feelings shared by former students.

"You didn’t appreciate it when you were 6, 7, or 8,” said Ella Nolan, a former student. “Now it's beautiful, it's history, it's kind of sad, it really is."

That's Ella, the girl I walked home from school with almost every day.

"It was so fun,” she said, “we had a ball"

From years past, to days present, we at East have reached the end of an era and many moments are gone, but not forgotten.

"Playing on the playground, red rover, I remember that. "

"When I walk in there, I miss it,” said Parks. “I start hearing the voices of the kids we've had, but that day is gone.

Owls will be the new combined school’s mascot.

The old East school will be used for administrative offices.

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