School keeps tradition resounding

Hardin Valley fifth graders ring bell to signal start of school year

Hardin Valley Elementary School rang in the new school year, a tradition to keep alive the school’s history.

Sixteen fifth-grade students pulled the rope to ring the bell Tuesday, Aug. 9, in front of the school while students of all grades watched.

“We’ve always rang the bell since the new school was built in 2000,” Dr. Sunny Poe, principal since 2014, said. “It’s a fabulous tradition.

“It’s something we want the children in the community to do to keep the history alive.”

“It’s just exciting to see our school’s bell that was at the old Hardin Valley School that burned down,” Maddox Adkins, fifth grader, said. “[Allowing him to be a bell ringer] shows they trust me to be able to handle stuff like this.”

“I’m excited about ringing the bell,” Molly Glenn said.

Caroline Logan said she was excited and nervous at the same time.

“I don’t know what to expect,” she said.

“This is very special because I never thought I would be doing this,” Braelyn Head said about ringing the bell.

“I’m excited that everyone is reporting on me,” Olivia Hen-zenberger said. “I’ve been to every one of these ceremonies. They ring the bell to remember the school that burned down.”

The bell was part of the old Hardin Valley School, which was built in 1931 at the corner of Hardin Valley and Marietta Church Road, two miles west of the present school, she said.

“One of the old-timers remembered in the 1940s the bell was rung to call in the kids from the playground each day,” Poe said. “April 14, 1978, that school burned down, and the only things that survived were the bell and a flag pole.”

There were 175 children who attended the old school. They transferred to attend school in Solway then later in Karns.

After the fire, the bell was placed in storage until 2000, when the present school was built at 11445 Hardin Valley Road, and the flag pole was given to Hardin Valley Fire Hall, where the pole is still is used, Poe said.

“So, we ring it every year at the beginning of school to signify the beginning of the school year,” she said.

“The kids and the staff go to the parking lot, I tell the history of the bell and a select number of fifth-graders help pull the rope,” she said.

Other fifth graders who rang the bell were Tyler Abshagen, Lily Swenson, Camden Johnson, Maggie Mason, Ethan Schem-mel, Addison Slone, Jackson Smith, Ashlee Ferguson, Caleb Neely, Zachary Blanchard and Cameron Cox.