MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WTVF) — Music and cheers filled the gym at Mt. Juliet Middle School as students celebrated a rite of passage.
“None of the students who are currently at West Wilson Middle have seen a rally of encouragement to date,” said 7th grade teacher Meagan Maxwell. She taught at West Wilson Middle School before part of the building was destroyed by a tornado in 2020.
But for the first time since, West Wilson Middle School finally got a chance to party in classic middle school fashion.
“So it’s weird … I think for someone who’s not in the building all the time that you’re doing a pep rally for your school, but at a different school,” Maxwell said. “But for us, we’re just trying to make it work.”
After the tornado, the sixth and seventh graders moved to Mt. Juliet Middle School, while the eighth graders found a home at Mt. Juliet High.
“It was just a great feeling to have the staff in one building for the first time in three years,” said Dr. Deante Alexander, Principal of West Wilson Middle School.
Unifying a divided school is not an easy task but he is the one charged with the task.
“Some days my schedule is like a ping pong game,” Alexander said. “So I’m here in a building for a certain part of the day; I’ll be in the next building some other specific part of the day.”
On the wall of his office hangs the future of West Wilson Middle School – renderings of what the new building will be.
“So when I see this, I see nothing but sacrifices, and we sacrifice ourselves for something that’s going to be better in the future,” Alexander said.
Students hope to return to their new building in time for the 2024-2025 school year. It will include storm protection areas in parts of the building.
Until then, celebrate every moment together.
“One of the things we’ve been emphatic about is, ‘Togetherness is our strength, but excellence is our standard,’ and that’s something we live by,” Alexander said, proving it’s not a building, it’s the one What makes school what it is – it’s the people in it.
Meanwhile, construction of Stoner Creek Elementary School nears completion. It was also badly damaged by the tornado. Officials hope to have students in classrooms before the 2022 winter break.