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HCS teachers reflect on ‘roller coaster’ school year on last day

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 11:35 PM EDT
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MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s officially summertime for students at Horry County Schools.

The school district wrapped up a unique, but challenging school year amid COVID-19 on Wednesday.

At Pee Dee Elementary, students spent the last day of school doing STEM activities followed by a competitive game of kickball to kick off the summer break.

For fourth-grade teacher Carolina Kelly, it was perhaps the most normalcy she’s seen since the pandemic changed the way of learning a year and a half ago.

“We really want to spend a lot of time just being with each other,” she said. “Not too much worrying about what has happened this year.”

In her eleven years as a teacher, Kelly said this school year was her most challenging yet.

It was filled with a lot of emotions and, at first, more questions than answers.

“What are we going to do? What is our year going to look like? How will my teaching be affected? How will the kids’ learning be affected?”

Kelly said she missed not being able to hug her students due to social distancing requirements while balancing virtual and in-person instruction was a learning curve.

Despite what she called a “roller coaster” of a year, Kelly said there were more highs than lows.

“You find out what you can do as a teacher and having to rethink everything that you know and being successful when it’s all said and done,” she said.

The same goes for Jacob Scheuer, a teacher at St. James High School who was just named HCS Teacher of the Year.

“It was challenging, but like I’ve said the teachers taught and the students learned. It was a successful year,” he said. “The students adapting, the teachers adapting, even the lunch ladies adapting to not having the kids in the lunchroom every day. Everyone just had to adapt and change and make the best of it.”

Looking ahead to next school year, Scheuer says he’s looking forward to not having to wear face masks and starting the school year with in-person learning five days a week.

As for Kelly, she’s excited about being able to be up close and personal with her students more.

“I’m 100% ready to sit next to my kids,” Kelly said. “I want to pull up a chair and talk about things and share pencils.”

HCS kicks off the 2021-22 school year on Aug. 17.

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