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Outdoor classroom to honor past principals

Dr. Robert Frazier, Farragut Intermediate School principal who died suddenly Tuesday, April 11, had been enthusiastic about building an outdoor classroom in front of FIS and Farragut Middle School, and the community has been invited to help make his wish a reality.

One of the last things he did before his death was to remind Kay Wellons, FIS assistant principal, of their appointment at Wal-Mart Wednesday, April 12, to receive a $1,000 grant that would help make that classroom possible, said Charlotte Jensen, FIS PTA president.

“ ‘We want to make sure we’re not late,’ ” he said to Wellons, Jensen recalled. In his stead, Wellons, Susan Bolinger and Charlotte Jensen, PTA president, attended the brief Wal-Mart staff meeting. Bolinger, had applied for the grant earlier in the year.

Jensen said FMS has received a grant from Scripps-Howard that will also go toward the project.

“We had a meeting this morning with members of the F-M-S P-T-S-A,” Jensen said. “We wanted to dedicate this project to Dr. Frazier’s memory and Dr. [Donald] Rhodes’ memory, because he was a principal there for a very long time. There are a lot of people in the community who knew Dr. Frazier and knew Dr. Rhodes who might like to get involved.”

Rhodes, principal of FMS, passed away Nov. 9, 2005.

“He had a tremendous impact on thousands of children’s lives,” Frazier once said about Rhodes, who served as FMS principal for 29 years.

Jensen said a lot of people have been pitching in at the school to answer phones and help out any way they can since Frazier’s death.

“We have been getting lots of phone calls from people today who want to do something. Flowers are nice, but people want to do something lasting. We want to get the word out to the community that this is a project that’s there if they would like to contribute to it.”

Jensen said the PTA members originally thought it might take up to two years to create the space that would seat up to 250 students.

“It’s going to have benches around the perimeter and octagonal tables and benches scattered throughout,” she said. Plans include new bushes and a new sidewalk. Jensen said that pavers were originally planned, but enough are not available.

“If there’s someone in the community who is interested in donating pavers or pouring a sidewalk, we’d like to talk to them about that,” she added.

Community members interested in helping with the project can contact Jensen at or call 865-661-2187. Checks can be made out to FIS PTA can be sent directly to the school.

s. Jensen asks “outdoor classroom” be written on the memo line.


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