Tiles to a memory

by Terriss Ford

Memories are etched into the halls of Moody, embodied in the classrooms, encapsulated in a time capsule, and imaginatively crafted into the ceiling tiles. However, after 45 years of students passing through its vibrant halls, Dorothy Moody Elementary may soon be nothing more than an abandoned thing of the past.

Due to funding issues and declining enrollment in schools, the Shawnee Mission School District is proposing to close five schools by the year 2012, including Dorothy Moody Elementary.

Senior, and former Moody student, Corey Byrnes returned to her old elementary school for the first time after hearing about the proposed changes.

“It felt weird to be back at Moody after being gone for so long,” Byrnes said. “Everything seems so much smaller than it was when I was there.”

As Byrnes took in the atmosphere of the school, she was reminded of fond memories of her elementary school years.

“I forgot how much I loved it here. There was so much we could participate in, like the sixth-grade play and ‘Just

Say No’ club,” she said. “The best part of being back there was definitely getting to see that my ceiling tile was still there.”

Each year sixth-grade students were allowed to decorate a ceiling tile that would forever be a part of the school.
The goal of the tile project was to personalize every ceiling tile in the hallways in remembrance of each Moody student.

The ceiling tile project came about when former art teacher Mrs. Borcheding decided the sixth graders should be able to take a piece of the school and make it creative. Since then it has become a Tiger tradition.
While Byrnes was elated to see familiar sights in her school she was also surprised to see familiar faces.

“I didn’t know Ray, the janitor, still worked [at Moody] and I definitely didn’t think he would have remembered me,” she said.

Custodian Ray Gibson, however, remembered Byrnes well.

“I remember Corey; she was one of my buddies.” Gibson said the love of students like Byrnes is what has kept him at Moody so long.

“I’ve worked at all of the schools in the district,” he said, “but Moody is my primary school. I’ve been here for 15 years. I would’ve loved to finish my retirement years here but it looks like I’m going to have to go somewhere else and finish it out.”

Cheryl Conley, a sixth-grade teacher, has been at the school since 1979 and is also quite reluctant to leave.

“ I was hoping they weren’t going to close us but they are and oh, well. I always used to tell [my students] I wouldn’t leave Dorothy Moody until they blew it up. I don’t think they’re going to blow it up but if they’re closing it down that’s close enough,” Conley said.

Moody has been around since 1966, and if the majority of the school board votes for the proposal November 8 at Shawnee Mission North, then it will be closing after 45 years of providing education for students in the area.

Shawnee Mission Superintendent Gene Johnson has proposed the closing of Bonjour and Shawanoe elementary schools and Antioch and Mission Valley middle schools after the 2010-2011 school year. Dorothy Moody, a school that eventually pools into Shawnee Mission South, would follow, closing after the 2011-2012 school year.