Noting its special role in educating students and preparing future teachers for the classroom, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee made a special presentation Thursday to the students, faculty and staff of Homer Pittard Campus School in recognition of its 85th anniversary at its Lytle Street location.
McPhee presented Campus School Principal Sherry King a special framed certificate from the university to honor the K-5 school “for its legacy in teaching and learning.” The celebration continues next week when the Friends of Campus School sponsors a public open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, on the school grounds located on the western edge of the MTSU campus.
With Blue Raider mascot Lightning on hand to delight the youngsters gathered Thursday morning inside the school’s gymnasium, McPhee reminded the students of the benefits of attending a special school. The longtime teaching laboratory school is owned by Middle Tennessee State University and jointly operated by MTSU and Rutherford County Schools.
“We are here today to celebrate 85 years of providing outstanding education to the students of this city, of this county and this region,” McPhee said. “Campus School is part of a long, strong tradition of producing outstanding citizens. … And this school will continue to produce graduates that make a difference in this community.”
Accepting the certificate with King were Rutherford County Schools Director Don Odom and Dr. Rita Schaerer King, a former teacher and principal at the school and now president of the Friends of Campus School organization.
“We are uniquely blessed and truly benefit from our partnership with MTSU, with the Friends of Campus School, with our parents and the Rutherford County school system,” said Sherry King, an MTSU alumnus in her first year as the school’s principal.
MTSU College of Education Dean Lana Seivers offered her congratulations and excitement about MTSU’s increasing involvement at the school in the coming year. All hands rose when Seivers asked which students had been helped by an MTSU teaching student in their classroom this year, and several hands raised when she asked how many teachers were MTSU alumni or took any courses on campus.
Addressing the attentive young faces in a storytelling tone only found in an experienced educator, Seivers drew knowing giggles from her impressionable audience when she noted: “You don’t look like you’re 85!”
“MTSU is so lucky to be a partner with you,” she said. After the ceremony, Seivers noted that the College of Education would be donating books to the school’s library collection in recognition of the anniversary.
Dr. Rita Schaerer King encouraged the public to attend the May 13 open house, which will include tours of the building, a reception in the school’s lobby as well as memorabilia on display in the school gym from each decade the school has been open as well as historic photos of the city from Shacklett’s Photography.
King noted that while Campus School opened the Lytle Street building in 1929, the school actually got its start in 1911 when Middle Tennessee Normal College opened an elementary school inside Kirksey Old Main, the administration building at the time.
The school initially served first through eighth grades until 1937, when the ninth and 10th grades were added as well as a library. Ten years later, ninth and 10th grades were dropped. Kindergarten was added in 1966, and seventh and eighth grades were dropped in 1972 when Central High School became Central Middle School. Campus School phased out the sixth grade two years ago.
For more information about Campus School, visit http://www.hpc.rcs.k12.tn.us.
— Jimmy Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org)