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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

New school year marks a new beginning for former Morehouse staff, students

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lee Hunter Elementary fourth graders John Myers (left) and Josiah Degen work together on a group math assignment in class Friday. Like their fellow former Morehouse Elementary students and staff, these two students are adjusting to a new school this year.
(Leonna Heuring, Staff)
SIKESTON -- She's only three days into the new school year at a new building, but third grader Paige McWhirter said she's liking Lee Hunter Elementary just fine.

"I've made a lot of new friends, and I have a really nice teacher," Paige said on Friday. "And it's just so fun here."

The former Morehouse Elementary student admitted she was nervous about the first day of school at Lee Hunter, but that feeling went away after she saw familiar faces -- some students and staff from Morehouse Elementary and another surprise.

"My cousin is in my class," Paige smiled.

Fourth grader John Myers also said he didn't know what to expect coming from Morehouse Elementary to Lee Hunter. He, too, said he's happy at the new location.

"It's a bigger building, and they have a bigger gym and different playground," John said.

John said he's also excited about the possibility of being a member of the school's safety patrol -- a group of students selected to help their peers enter or leave the building before and after school. They also are responsible for putting up and taking down the flag every day, he said.

John has already inquired about what it takes to be on the safety patrol, he said.

"They said they will check your behavior and grades and will let you know around Christmas time if they need anybody (on safety patrol)," John said.

In June the Sikeston R-6 school board voted to close the Morehouse Elementary school building due to budgetary reasons. Teachers and staff spent the summer preparing for their new building assignments.

Parents and students have had some opportunities to become familiar with the building through open houses or parent nights prior to the first day of school.

"The largest majority of the (Morehouse) students and staff would've gone to Lee Hunter because it's the largest school and space was available," Sikeston R-6 Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller said.

In addition to having extra space, the move populated the Lee Hunter class size to be similar to that at Matthews Elementary and Southeast Elementary, the superintendent said. Some students and staff were assigned to other schools in the district, too.

Former Morehouse Elementary Principal Jeff Williams, who is now the associate principal at Lee Hunter, said the transition of Morehouse staff and students into the school has gone really well.

"The staff at Lee Hunter have made everyone feel comfortable and they are very welcoming," Williams said.

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