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Learning in the great outdoors

Putnam County Schools Superintendent Jay McCracken welcomes the public to the ceremony for the new Outdoor History Classroom at the primary school.
Putnam County Schools Superintendent Jay McCracken welcomes the public to the ceremony for the new Outdoor History Classroom at the primary school.

GRANVILLE — The Putnam County Primary School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newest classroom on Oct. 4. This room is different from the other classrooms There are no chairs, chalkboards or desks.

It doesn’t have any walls or a ceiling either.

The new outdoor history classroom is situated just southwest of the parking area in the shade of two trees. The idea is to give students a chance to do lessons outside, surrounded by nature in a more comfortable environment.

“The idea actually came from Mr. (Jay) McCracken. He’s very into our history and our culture in the community,” said Ronda Cross, primary school principal. “The idea also stems from the bronze plaques on all four corners that were here on this site when the high school was here.”

Members of the Hopkins High School Alumni Association were present for the event. The historical plaques were donated to the school by the association for placement around the classroom area. The alumni have also provided many pieces of artwork in the schools, which originally hung in the Hopkins building.

Putnam County Schools Superintendent Jay McCracken welcomed all to the ceremony, noting how the purpose of the outdoor classroom was a continuation of the dream of Dean Inman, one of the earliest principals at Hopkins High School. Inman has been recognized by educators for his forward movement in educational programs he started in 1918. The programs included educational improvements, activities and beautifying the building and grounds at Hopkins.

“I like to think that all of us are carrying on the work of Principal Dean Inman even today, as we beautify these grounds and dedicate this outdoor classroom that should be used by all of you for generations to come,” said McCracken.

“Pre-K through second-grade students will be able to use this site for any of their content areas, come out here to just enjoy the weather while they’re also learning how to change the environment,” Cross said.

As part of the ceremony, the students sang and presented thank you cards and flowers to the Hopkins High School Alumni.

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