By Ralphine Major
Finally, it is back where it belongs. Gibbs Middle School is once again a part of the Gibbs Community thanks to years of persistent efforts from parents and local leaders, including school board members and county commissioners.
For decades, Gibbs Elementary, Gibbs Middle (formerly Junior High), and Gibbs High Schools were all under one roof—the building that is currently home to the high school. By the late sixties, efforts were underway to build a new elementary school just behind the football field. The new school would feature a new concept in education known as the open classroom which meant that no walls divided the classrooms. More than twenty years later, the concept was still being discussed in a graduate class I took at The University of Tennessee. The new idea of open classrooms was not popular with many parents in our rural community. By the early nineties, Gibbs Middle School students no longer attended Gibbs. They were transported to another community to attend Holston Middle School (formerly Holston High School). Parents in the Gibbs Community were not happy with this arrangement.
On a crisp October morning three years ago, we attended the groundbreaking for the long-awaited Gibbs Middle School. This week, I drove onto the campus of the new school which is almost hidden on a hillside behind the Gibbs Elementary School that was built in recent years. All three Gibbs Schools are now within view of each other with Mother Nature’s beautiful landscape surrounding their campuses. Welcome home, Gibbs Middle School! Welcome home!
Note: Come and see us at the Grainger County Tomato Festival, July 27, 28, and 29 in Rutledge, Tennessee! We will be signing books in our Piddle Diddle, the Widdle Penguin, series.