Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 18, 2013

Pleasant Hill Ramblings: Town transformed for Halloween

By Jean Clark
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — The Pleasant Hill Town Hall becomes unrecognizable every year on Halloween thanks largely to the efforts of town clerk, Heather Gunter. Spider webs hang from every spot in the ceiling as spiders crawl and bats cling to every wall surface. Ghouls, skeletons, monsters abound. Town council members and their spouses serve up bubbling brew, red velvet cupcakes, delicious homemade cookies, Gunter’s famous sausage dip and enough candy to make all of the dentists happy.

Former Mayor Jim Olds was on hand, dishing up his world famous (well, maybe town famous) chili accompanied by Vice Mayor Diane Savage’s cornbread. Goodie bags were distributed as prizes for easy-to-win games. More than 250 ghosts, goblins, super heroes, princesses, cartoon characters, political figures, dragons, monsters and nondescript costumed people — young and old — enjoyed the games, the Mayor’s stories, the scrumptious food and most of all the great camaraderie of the evening. No one cared that the wind and rain made walking the streets uncomfortable. It was warm and welcome inside town hall. 

At the November town council meeting, teachers and students from Pleasant Hill Elementary school were honored with certificates and gift cards for their outstanding contributions to educational excellence. They were pre-k through fourth grades: student Cameron Sims and teacher Rhonda Phipps; grades 5-8: student Chase Mullen and teacher Susie Stewart; support staff Tom Pritchard and special education teacher. 

The Pleasant Hill Elementary PTO was pleased to report that their fall festival netted about $2,500. PHS is hosting the JV Basketball Tourney, which began on Nov. 16, the semi-finals were played Nov. 18, and the finals will be played this Thursday, Nov. 21 in the PHS gym. The Lady Hornets, Hornets and cheer teams love to see you out supporting them.

November is Native American Heritage Month when the teachers and students celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of these earliest of Americans. Many families in the county proudly trace their heritage to the Cherokees who were prevalent in the early history of this region. The administration, teachers and students are working hard to master the standards needed to meet this year’s annual measurable objectives. This is what the state looks at to make sure everyone is growing academically.

You may have recently read reports that Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the nation in education. This information comes from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which assessed reading and math skills in fourth and eighth grades earlier in 2013. For fourth-grade students, Tennessee climbed nationally from 41st to 31st in reading and from 46th to 37th in math. Students in eighth grade moved up two spots in math and seven spots in reading. Also of note, Tennessee was the only state to improve on both the reading and math tests in fourth and eighth grades from the most recent administration of NAEP in 2011, also posting the highest gains ever between single administrations of the test.

PHS has set the following goals for the percentage of students that should be proficient or advanced on the TCAP: grades 3-8 — reading 44.7 percent and math 34.4 percent. The best way for parents and grandparents to encourage learning is to take an interest in what is going on in school. Ask about their school day, attend PTO and sports events, become supporters of their teachers and work with them. Check out the PHS website: ccschools.k12th.net/pleasanthill.cfm. Some of the teachers have a website as well. Be an education booster and your children will be as well.