TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) — For Mintonye Elementary faculty members and teachers, the end of this school year has been bittersweet. They spent Monday packing up their classrooms at First Assembly Community Ministries.
“We were just blessed that this building was available. It’s been great. But at the same time, we’re excited to go home,” Mintonye Principal Rob Skaggs said.
Students and staff spent most of this past school year at First Assembly after November’s tornado damaged Mintonye’s building.
“It was very surreal because you were doing what you had to do to go back to school, and we were all focused on bringing the kids back and making sure they were OK,” said Susan Robey, a Mintoyne teacher.
The school supplies and equipment was packed into a truck a heads to storage for the summer.
“As soon as we get the green light to move back into Mintonye, which should be hopefully the end of July, the movers will then bring everything back to our school,” Skaggs said.
Throughout the year though, teachers say the children were taught lessons you can’t find inside a textbook.
“They’ll be able to say, ‘You know, I did this when I was 6 or 7 and so, I know how to do these things. I know how to change and adapt and be flexible,'” Robey said.
But as teachers and students will begin writing a new chapter next school year, several teachers won’t return to their old home at Mintonye. Two of those teachers, Susan Robey and Mary Peckinpaugh, are retiring and packing up their classrooms one last time.
“Mrs. Peckinpaugh and I have taught side by side for 26 years, and so we have a lot of memories together,” Robey said.
“My first job with TSC was in Battleground. But I lived so close to Mintonye so I transferred, and it’s been the best experience ever,” Peckinpaugh said.
As they leave the classrooms behind, they’ll bring the memories with them. But what they’ll miss the most, of course, is the children.
“Having that unconditional love from the students and giving them that unconditional love because they truly love their teachers,” Robey said.
Southwestern students and teachers hope to return back to their building sometime next school year.