Education

So long, school

School's out for summer, and 8-year-old Sarai Williams isn't happy about it.

“I don't want to leave school,” she said, “because … I won't be able to learn.”

Really. She's serious.

The second-grader has found a home at Villa Heights Academic Center that she'll be sad to leave.

But her disappointment was lost in the parties and cheers of joy that filled Villa Heights' halls on Tuesday – the last day of classes for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Teacher Chris Claridge's second-grade class washed down pizza with chocolate milk as they bid the school year goodbye.

The tinkling of bells filled the air as students tried to goad each other into saying the secret, unsayable word: “C-A-K-E.” Should someone slip up and say the word, that student had to give their silver bell to the person who heard it.

Third-grade teacher Meredith Padgett's opened a pack of cookies as students rested from a vigorous last-day recess.

“Some of 'em have lots of energy,” she said, looking around at her students. Fashonista Breanna King and budding scientist Amber Ford played a game of cards while the rest of the class was captivated by a movie.

Jennifer Fang normally dislikes sitting in class all day, but Tuesday was different.

“We have to sit through and listen, and I get tired,” she said. Summertime allows her to partake in one of her favorite hobbies: playing in the dirt.

But with Charlotte temperatures soaring, these elementary schoolers might have to stay inside to play. Nine-year-old Alex Tabaczynski has more than one way to beat the heat. When he's not practicing for tae kwon do class, he likes to tinker with electronics.

“I took apart a computer once,” he said. “Then I smashed it with a sledgehammer.”

Unfortunately, he hasn't developed a way to put the electronics together. (Alex reassured his alarmed classmates that he had his mother's permission to break her old laptop.)

But on Tuesday nothing could distract students for too long, not with summer vacation calling.

And for Sarai Williams – the second-grader who doesn't want school to end – third grade is only 75 days away.

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