Thousands of families in DeKalb bid farewell to beloved schools on Friday.
The last day of school for the county’s students marked the last day ever for eight DeKalb schools, shuttered due to restricting.
The schools were Atherton, Glen Haven, Gresham Park, Peachcrest, Medlock and Sky Haven elementary schools, Avondale Middle School and Avondale High School.
I wanted to write about the closings and wondered the best way to do it.
A Medlock Elementary School parent did it for me with a lovely tribute to his children’s school. I have always loved the atmosphere of Medlock, an elementary school tucked away in a old central DeKalb neighborhood. This is a sweet piece that honors Medlock, but speaks to the sadness that all affected DeKalb families must be feeling as they say farewell to their schools.
By Amin Bhayani.
As my son Ali and I were walking toward the car, Ali said to me: “You know Dad today is the last day of my school.”
His face was glowing with happiness and his voice was full of excitement but I was feeling a little gloomy and glimpses of the last four years kept coming into my mind, one after another.
Every morning for the past four years, I have driven my kids to Medlock Elementary School. During those years, I have heard the same phrase so many times — “This is my last day” — but never felt the way I felt yesterday.
My daughter Iman graduated from Medlock Elementary School in 2008, and my son Ali just finished first
grade. But after this summer vacation, I will never drive him back to Medlock because the school will be closing its doors at the end of this month as part of the DeKalb County redistricting plan.
While I was driving Ali to school, the first two years of my daughter Iman’s time in Medlock were circling around my mind. Iman was admitted to Medlock in fourth grade after we had moved from Daytona Beach in 2007. The following year she graduated from fifth grade to Shamrock Middle School.
Ali was admitted to kindergarten in 2009, and this year finished first grade with his name on the principal’s honor list. After parking the car, Ali and I started walking toward the school. The school’s surroundings have always fascinated me. At the left side, there are so many lush green, dense trees and across them you can see the widows of the classrooms.
During these four years, I have seen robins flying or plunging from the trees to the ground where they might have seen juicy worms to target for easy snacks.
A little bit on the right, just by the wall where the name of the school is written in big letters, there is a pole in which the American flag is mounted. So many times, I have seen different kids there raising the flag.
While coming out of the school, across the street in a yard of a home, you can see a very huge tree on the left side. The rays of the morning sun are reflected through the shiny green leaves of the tree.
We entered the school and, while passing the corridors, I looked at many black and white and color photographs of school’s past 60 years — students, teachers, group pictures from the classes of previous academic years, events and extracurricular activities, which were placed there in the last few weeks to mark the closing.
As I looked at one year after another, thoughts kept coming to my mind. What became of all those students?
Some may have become doctors, engineers, scientists, police officers, politicians, teachers, authors or business persons. Most might have no idea that the very same school that gave them their early education, provided their first introduction to letters, words, numbers, colors, lines, drawing and taught them other more important lessons is now vanishing forever.
As the school closes its doors forever, the students and their parents will never be able to return to Medlock Elementary School. But I am pretty sure that all the memories connected with the school will always be in their hearts.
Whenever they want to revisit Medlock, they will just turn their heads toward their hearts and they can see the pictures of those golden memories from the past.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog