Tag Archives: Midway High School

November Was Another Busy Month for County Government – Dec 2018

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

The first week of the month had many County Commissioners at the Roane Alliance Gala. The Roane Alliance is the county’s economic development organization. This year’s Gala was once again well attended and supported by our local business and city governments. The Alliance was established in 2001 and has been led by four CEOs over the years. The Alliance is once again in search of a new leader as Wade Creswell has taken a position at Oak Ridge National Lab. Best wishes to Wade and thank you for your public service. The second week the commissioners honored a group of eight new Roane County Treasures. Roane County Treasures is a program started in 2007 that honors men and women who lived and contributed to the betterment of Roane County. A list of Treasures can be found on a plaque on the first floor of the Courthouse.

In the third week, County Commissioner Charlotte Bowers and Executive Ron Woody joined Oak Ridge Representatives at an intergovernmental meeting. They met with the Department of Energy (Oak Ridge Office and Washington DC Office), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and State Legislators to discuss the environmental clean up of the Oak Ridge Reservation and the challenges of cleaning the legacy DOE site.

The commission met the fourth week of November to approve a significant resolution that starts capital improvements for our county schools. For the first time in eight years, the county approved issuing debt. The debt may only be issued for large projects, and school building project qualifies as a large project wherein 7.1 Million in bonds were approved. We anticipate construction will start on the Oliver Springs Middle School conversion to a Middle and High School will begin in late Spring early Summer. This project is estimated over 5 million and another one million was approved for a new sewer plant to service the Midway elementary, middle and high schools. Part of the bond’s proceeds will be shared with the Oak Ridge School system for their county projects.

The County Commission further discussed possible legislation regarding the TVA ash spill at the County Commission meeting. More to come on these issues as a special meeting will be held on December 4th. The commissioner’s plates are full with the TVA Kingston ash spill issues, potential jail construction, and further capital education improvements. Stay tuned.

Shannon Hester – District 7 – Oct 2018

Shannon Hester, a son of Roane County, grew up working in his father’s heavy equipment business. At the age of 18, Hester graduated from Midway High School and enlisted in the Army; leaving Roane County to serve his country as a combat engineer in Indiana, in Germany, then in Fort Benning, Georgia as a drill instructor in the Infantry Training Center. Hester ended his 21-year career with the Army after returning from his deployment with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq. Returning to his home county, Hester, now 39, interviewed for a job for the first time in his life at Y12.

While Hester waited for his position to be finalized at Y12, Stanley Moore hired Hester to work once again with heavy equipment. Moore and Hester have maintained a friendship ever since. When a position opened up on the Roane County Commission, it was Commissioner Moore and other community members that encouraged Hester to run. Beginning his Y12 career in security, Hester, now fourteen years later, is Safeguards and Security Operations Center Manager. Together with Lisa Hester, his wife of 33 years, they raised three sons. His oldest son carries with him the family legacy of service to his nation in the Air Force along with his middle son who is a member of the Tennessee Tech ROTC. Hester’s experience prior to the commission has taught him that, “Individually a commissioner is nothing but collectively the commission can manage the county’s business.”

The Last One-Room School In Roane County

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

The last one-room school in Roane County was the Dry Fork Elementary School located in the Dry Fork Community, in the Southern part of Roane County. The school closed at the end of the 1968-1969 school year. The school opened in 1878, and the first teacher was James Clarksen who only taught for one year. Forty-seven teachers taught at the school during its ninety-one-year history. The last twenty-seven years were taught by Mrs. Fleda Guffee. Besides teaching, Mrs. Guffee also drove the school bus during her last year at Dry Fork. In an article in The Knoxville News-Sentinel, 13 Apr 1967, it was stated

Discipline is seldom a problem, and a boy or girl spanked at school usually gets another at home, ‘I just stop the school bus, walk up to a house and tell a pupil’s folks what he’s done,’ Mrs. Guffey (sic) said, ‘Before nightfall a boy whipped at school may have had his second dose!’” In this same article, Mrs. Guffee also stated “The advantage of a one-room school, is that small children learn how to get along with each other, how to cooperate, to give and to take. And our secret of any success we have here, I believe, is in-home visits. I make many of them.

The last year the school was in operation it had 26 students. When the school closed, the students were transferred to Paint Rock Elementary and Midway High School. Mrs. Guffee transferred to Fairview Elementary School and taught for another year. When the school closed, the property reverted back to the family of Robert Lee Viar, the owner of the property. According to a 1977 newspaper article, the building was being used as the residence of Edward and Velma Viar.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, March 2013.