Jared Felkins' Column: Cleaning out my notebook: Schools, a classic and near gridiron perfection

“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
Dec 8, 2012

“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
— C.S. Lewis

It seems like everywhere I go these days, the people I encounter want to talk about the Wilson County Board of Education’s pending decision on a proposal to create a new Lebanon High School.

All this week, we have reported on the plans on the table, as well as the potential effects a middle school concept would have on students involved.

On Saturday, I got the opportunity to tour the old Lebanon High School, which is included as an option to house more than 600 sixth- through eighth-grade students at Carroll Oakland, Southside and Tuckers Crossroads elementary schools.

As I looked around, searching for any flaw I could, my mind raced through the hundreds of schools I’d toured in the past. Some were better, and some were worse. All housed students at the time.

Sure, there’s some age and wear and past problems associated with the old Lebanon High School. Structurally, it’s in pretty good shape, in my humble opinion. Certainly, it needs some work. But as an outsider looking in, I’d have to say I would have few reservations sending any or all of my three children there once those upgrades are made.

At least on the surface, many of the issues used as evidence to support building a new Lebanon High School are corrected. That past argument deserves a bit more explanation from the Wilson County schools decision makers, but that’s another column for another day.

And I was all ready to offer my full support for a new Lebanon Middle School to be housed in the old Lebanon Middle School until Danny Hill walked into my office Thursday.

Hill, a 33-year veteran educator with 20 years experience as principal at Southside Elementary School, makes a pretty solid argument against the middle school concept. What impressed me the most was his passion for education.

About a year and a half ago, Hill moved into the consulting world with Power of ICU – a group that works with schools to revive student engagement.

It’s a business, but I believe Hill knows a little something about engaging students to be the best they can be.
And if he says a middle school concept doesn’t work, I’m inclined to believe him. After all, he has Harvard University to back him up on the issue.

Certainly something needs to go into the old Lebanon High School. It would be a shame for it to remain vacant. For its flaws, there are some benefits, not to mention the price tag attached to it remaining vacant.
Realistically, consolidating many of the Wilson County schools administrative offices scattered around could both save money and utilize a building in need of use. Then, some quality upgrades at each of the elementary schools would be in order.

Now there’s a solution that keeps the best interests of all those involved in mind.

Cumberland students know how to take the stage

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to take the family to Cumberland University’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”

Now I’m no stranger to the community stage, having attended dozens of productions in the past. In my humble review of Cumberland’s production, I have to say it ranks up there with the best of them.

Deron Martel, who played Ebenezer Scrooge in the timeless Dickens classic, did a terrific job as did all of the cast members. I don’t think I’ve seen the play performed as a musical, but I have to say it worked.

The university should be proud to have such talented, professional students.

Being this close to No. 1 is a great place to be

Congratulations to the Friendship Christian Commanders on a repeat state championship with a 44-7 defeat of Adamsville last Saturday.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my alma mater and its performance in the SEC Championship last weekend. Alabama will face No. 1-ranked Notre Dame in the BCS Championship next month in Miami.

The win didn’t come easy to the Crimson Tide as 5 yards and a handful of seconds separated a win from a loss. A trip to the Capital One Bowl as consolation isn’t befitting Georgia, which was a formidable opponent.

Last weekend proved to include several early Christmas gifts, including a chance at a repeat national championship.

Jared Felkins is The Lebanon Democrat’s director of content. He may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 13 or jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com. Follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins.


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