• 57°

Spring break under way

The halls are empty, the lights are off and only a light breeze pushes playground swings at some schools.

When the bells dismissed the masses on Friday, spring break began for students at Morgan Academy, Meadowview Christian, Central Christian and those in Dallas County Schools.

Despite a poor economy, many students, teachers and administrators will leave Dallas County for destinations such as Gulf Shores, Key West, Fla., and Atlanta.

Morgan Academy guidance counselor Sheryl Schroeder discovered a last-minute deal on a cruise to Key West and Grand Cayman. She booked the trip Monday and departs with her family March 23. Schroeder said families could find cheap vacation packages if their schedule is flexible.

“It was one of those last minute, too-good-to-pass-up deals,” she said. “You have to be able to drop everything you’re doing and go.”

Morgan senior Brook Robertson is destined for sun and sand, too. Robertson, along with family and friends, will spend the week on Gulf Shores’ sugar-white beaches. She said her group is meeting more friends in Gulf Shores.

“We wanted to all be together,” Robertson said.

While students in sixth-grade English teacher Frankie Cahoon’s class are traveling to Las Vegas and Mexico next week, Cahoon said she plans on relaxing at home.

“I’m going to stay home, work in my yard and visit my grandkids,” she said.

Meadowview Christian assistant principal and science teacher Miriam Anderson will not travel far during spring break. She and her husband will attend an exhibition of artifacts from King Tut’s tomb in Atlanta. The couple loves to travel the world and learn about different cultures, Anderson said.

“The Atlanta thing is a big thing for us,” she said. “That’s something we enjoy doing.”

Anderson’s student, sophomore Tyler Perry, will take a more traditional approach to spring break. Perry will spend the week in Panama City Beach, Fla., with his girlfriend, friends and parents. He said he is looking forward to lying on the sand under a warm sun.

“It’s just where all the fun’s at,” Perry said.

Valley Grande Elementary School second-grade student Gary Crum said he is bound for the Gulf Coast. Crum will travel with his family to Orange Beach. He said he would play his PSP handheld video game during the trip, until he smells the salty air seeping through the car windows. Once he arrives, Crum said he would leave the videogames in the hotel room.

“I’ll be playing in the sand and the swimming pool,” he said.

Melissa Neighbors, Crum’s teacher, said her family travels to the beach most summers. So for spring break, she, her husband and her 10-year-old and 2-year-old children decided to take a trip to Atlanta.

“We’re going to the aquarium, the World of Coke, the zoo and the children’s museum,” she said. “We try to do something different during spring break.”

While students, teachers and administrators relax, maintenance staff work hard during spring break. Dallas County Schools administrative assistant Don Willingham said the county’s maintenance staff would take advantage of the empty schools.

“It’s a good chance to do a little maintenance work,” he said.

Central Christian headmaster Darrell Walker said work would be one of the last things on his mind next week. Walker, who doubles as the school’s athletic director, said the week off comes at the perfect time.

“Especially for me, it’s a time of rest,” he said.

Central Christian kindergarten student Dawson Sanders said he does not plan to rest during spring break. He said he will fish with his parents and ride his bike every chance he gets.

“It’s green, and it’s got a horn and a light on it,” Sanders said.

Janie Wilson’s kindergarten class brimmed with excitement Thursday. The students knew how close they were to a week away from school, especially Natji Snow.

“I’m so excited I can’t even wait,” he said.

As Wilson paused from decorating a bulletin board with kites, she said it would be nice to spend some time with her sister in Madison.

“I’m overdue for a vacation anyway,” Wilson said.