Last week 11 of the 12 students that make up the eighth-grade class at Kingdom Come Settlement School gathered around a computer and listened to “If Everyone Cared” by Nickelback hoping their principal, Linda Jarrett, would approve the song being played at their graduation ceremony.
When it comes to their gradua- eighth-graders are paying close attention to details since this will be the last graduation that will take place at the school which was established in 1924.
“We’re the last eighth-grade class to graduate here. It’s got to be special,” said Ashley Frazier, 13, of Defeated Creek.
With the enrollment declining to the point the middle school has only three students in the sixth grade, six students in the seventh grade, and 12 students in the eighth grade, the Letcher County Board of Education voted at its January meeting to close the school and send the students to Cowan Elementary School for the next school year.
A total of 69 students are currently enrolled at Kingdom Come and the staff consists of four teachers at the school – two regular teachers, one Title 1 teacher and a special education teacher.
“I’m very sad about the school closing. With our enrollment, there is just no way around it. It will be a benefit for the students – more academic opportunities as well as sports,” said Patricia Bentley, special education teacher at Kingdom Come. teacher at Kingdom Come, said the students will have more resources available to them at a school with a larger enrollment.
“Given that its rich history dates back to the old high school, it saddens me to see the doors closing. On the flip side the kids will have more of an opportunity to succeed at a bigger school,” said Brown.
Jarrett said the students don’t need to worry about attending a different school.
“This school is rich in tradition – caring parents, caring staff and a caring atmosphere. Children are afraid that will be lost in the bigger setting. I think that they will be accepted and will find new friends,” said Jarrett.
Students at Kingdom Come are having a hard time accepting that the school is closing, especially those like Frazier, Cody Fields and Adam Cornett who have attended the school since kindergarten.
“It’s so special. We don’t want to see it go,” said Frazier.
Frazier said the students and faculty at the school have a closeknit relationship.
“It’s like one big family,” said Fields, 14, of Kingscreek.
Cornett, 12, of Linefork, is used to going to Kingdom Come and will miss attending school at Linefork.
“I’ve been in this school since pre-school. I feel at home here,” said Cornett.