Remembering 25 Years Of Friendship

Thursday, March 13, 2014
Let's take a trip to the summer of 1989. President George H. W. Bush was President, acid wash pants and loud colors were the style, and the airwaves were filled with the most awesome music. However, it was the summer that also was met with some skepticism. Both Valley View and John A. Patten graduated their last sixth grade classes. In fact, John A. Patten Elementary was closing its doors and that fall moved all their children to Valley View Elementary School making it K-5. However, unknown to us there was another item that would have a big effect when we went back to school.
We found out later a number of African-American students, who lived in St. Elmo, would be attending Lookout Valley Middle/High School. Now before this I had a few friends who were "black", but I did not know a lot of them. 

As the first day started I can only imagine what some of these youth were thinking especially as they crossed the railroad bridge on Cummings Highway. We at Valley View had a few students before then who were black. These were the Mason children so seeing more "black" children didn't bother me. However, as new youths came off the bus it was strange.  However, I became friends with many of them.

Over the next few month tensions were a little high, but many of the youths came together and became friends. In fact more African-Americans came with the closing of Kirkman High in 1990. Over the next five years we had some problems just like a lot of other schools, and uneducated children caused some issues. However, we became stronger and many of those children are friends to this day. 

Our savior loves everyone black, brown, white, straight, gay, atheist, Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, and so on. Today, I'm glad I have gotten to know everyone I have known over the years. Let's leave the color where it belongs in a box of color sharpies. 

To my friends Claude Pepe Mason, Chad Mason, Almondo Hill, Mark Clemons, the Patel Family, and others, thank you for being great friends. Lookout Valley High would have not been the same without you. I look back on 25 years, and I see some gains and some fall backs. However, as the old quote stated, "Rome was not built in a day." We just need to strive for showing love to one another.

Alex McKeel, Lookout Valley



Roy Exum: New Schools On Agenda

Hamilton County School Superintendent Bryan Johnson confirmed on Wednesday that a plan for several new public schools will be included on Thursday night’s School Board agenda. Hamilton County has fallen woefully behind other metro school districts in the state and, with an estimated $340 million in deferred repairs, upgrading facilities - that now average over 40 years old - was ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Mom Don’t Have…I Do’

It’s hard to know what goes through the mind of a five-year-old, particularly one who watches her mom go in and out of jail due to drug addiction. But little Sunshine Oelfke is obviously being raised right by her grandmother because the other morning, the five-year-old came into the kitchen before leaving for kindergarten with a baggie full of coins from her piggy bank. “I asked ... (click for more)

$125 Million County School Building Plan Includes Shifting CSLA To Tyner Middle; Combining Tyner High/Middle; New Harrison Elementary, New East Hamilton Middle

Hamilton County School officials on Thursday unveiled a $125 million building plan that includes moving the Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts to the current Tyner Middle School, which will undergo a major renovation. Tyner Middle will move across the street into Tyner High School. Both Tyner buildings have been under-utilized for a number of years. There will also be ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Committee Says Pulling Away From County Schools Is "Feasible"

After eight months of investigating the viability of Signal Mountain establishing a separate school district, a committee of six has determined that it is feasible and would meet the goal of improving the education provided to students. The committee was also tasked with identifying obstacles and if possible to find ways to overcome them.  Results of the report were presented ... (click for more)

Baylor Wins State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – There were tears on both sides of the court at MTSU’s Murphy Center Thursday afternoon. There were tears of relief and joy for the Baylor Lady Red Raiders while the tears for the Briarcrest Lady Saints represented heartbreak and disappointment. Such is the case when two really good volleyball teams meet for the second straight year for a D-II Class AA ... (click for more)

Lanters Are Latest Sister Acts Leading Lady Flames Teams

When one looks back on the success of the Lee University women’s soccer program over the past 16 years, it is easy to see what sisters have provided. Records show the surge began in 2001 and continues today with senior Summer and freshman Anna Lanter (former Soddy Daisy High School standouts) helping spark the Lady Flames to a current 8-4 overall mark and 7-2 in the rugged Gulf ... (click for more)