A Metro Nashville school is celebrating 50 years of education.
Current and former teachers and staff gathered Friday morning in the library of Grace Cole Elementary School to commemorate the golden anniversary.
Named after educator Grace Cole, the original facility was built in 1962 on Colemont Boulevard near the intersection of Tusculum Road in Antioch.
The school began with only 14 teachers. At that time, 15 teachers were required in order for the school to have a full-time principal.
Dr. Edward Counter pulled double-duty as educator and principal. His assistant, Nadia Mitchell, volunteered her time in the office until she was officially hired a few years later. The pair would run the front office side-by-side for the next 35 years.
“I used to know the names of every child in this school, and then we got to growing so,” Dr. Counter recalled. “At one time, we had almost 1,500 children. That's when they opened up the Cole Annex, which is the old Turner School building.”
Currently, 840 children representing 117 different nationalities make up the student body ranging from pre-kindergarten to fourth grade.
Additions were added to the main building in 2003 and 2009 to accommodate the growing population.
“The building is beautiful now,” Dr. Counter gushed. “Metro Schools has done a great job revitalizing this building and I'm proud of it.”
Now retired, Dr. Counter vividly remembers when the facility was lacking a few amenities.
“No A/C [air conditioning],” he laughed. “I remember walking the halls and perspiring. [I] would come in and be almost soaking wet because these ceilings had no insulation in them at that time. So it was hot!”
Thursday's celebration was a small affair attended by members of the Cole family.
Today, the elementary is more commonly known as simply Cole School, home of the eagles with school colors of blue, orange and white.