MCHS enjoys 'Cool School' designation

Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Marshall County High Students welcome Channel 4 during their morning show Friday.

Not many students would be want to get to school by 4:00 a.m. on a cold, January morning, however nearly all of Marshall County High School's student body did just that on Friday for the chance to show off their Tiger pride on live television.

MCHS was Channel 4's first "Cool School" of the new year and WSMV anchor Aaron Solomon broadcasted live from the packed gymnasium from 4:30-7:00 a.m. According to Principal Jacob Sorrells about 700 of the school's 825 students and 40 faculty members provided their own transportation in the pre-dawn hours to take part in all of the excitement.

Every 20 minutes or so during the morning newscast, the Nashville station would cut back to Solomon and the enthusiasm at Marshall County High, which featured cheerleaders, the Halftimers performers, Men's Ensemble, archery team, girl's basketball team, the band, and many students decked out in colorful costumes and face paint.

Started in the fall of 2007, "Cool Schools" highlights a different Middle Tennessee school every Friday morning and then the montage videos are put on the station's website (

"We try to show the positive things going on in education," said Solomon. "Unfortunately in the news we don't hear the good stuff going on. It's been a great way to get out in the community and meet people."

Solomon adds that one unintended positive of the series has been that administrators watching have taken ideas they've seen at one school and implemented them at their school to benefit students.

Earlier in the week Solomon and cameraman Josh Winstead had spent about 2 ˝ hours at MCHS "roaming around the school shooting a bunch of cool stuff" based on the Top 10 list of "Things that Make MCHS Cool" that were used to nominate the school. According to Sorrells the top 10 list included (in no particular order): the Men's Ensemble; AP English and AP Latin; Archery State Champs; Coach Joe George; Coach Mike Reese teaching CPR; Girl's Basketball State Champs; Yearbook; Halftimers; and Student Council.

"This is a good chance to show the community and people of the midstate the good things in our schools and it also shows we've got a lot of good teachers and a lot of good students," commented Sorrells.

On Friday, Solomon was not only accompanied by cameraman Thomas Davis and Don Downs in the WSMV truck, but very, very special guest - Snowbird! The plush penguin with the squeaky voice delighted everyone, posed for pictures and even participated in an on-air hula-hoop contest along with Director of Schools Dr. Stan Curtis and Principal Sorrells.

"If I had a dollar for everyone who asked me for a snow day I'd be home counting my money right now!" Snowbird said when asked when we'd get another day off from school.

At about 6:00 a.m., the students had a long break between live broadcasts so everyone enjoyed breakfast donated by Ironcraft (Kathy and Jerry Perry), Krystal, Sundrop, and Arby's. Also by this time, Solomon had donned a "We are Marshall" t-shirt and had to keep the students pumped up for the last hour of the show.

"You guys have been awesome…this has been a great way to start the new year!" he hollered at the crowd.

During the down time, students participated in fun games, such as musical chairs, and relay races, and enjoyed performances by the Men's Ensemble, the Halftimers, and a fabulous rendition of "Proud Mary" by Ike and Tina Turner (assistant principal Shanda Sparrow and teacher Mike Whitehead).

As the morning came to a close, Solomon told the group that they were "one of the most energetic schools we've been to" and reminded them to stay in school, do their best, and go for their degrees.

Mr. Sorrells thanked all the students, faculty, and staff who arrived early, especially Kim Anderson and Carolyn Mills who helped coordinate the entire event and the hospitality room. Solomon was given a huge gift basket to take back to the station which included an assortment MCHS memorabilia and gifts from local merchants including Brother's Fine Foods, City of Lewisburg, Moon Pencil, Jabber's, A Victorian Medley, and 4-Ever Flowers. Donations for the hospitality room were provided by Burger King, Arby's, Sundrop, Kroger, Walmart, Sonic, Subway and Sister's Three who also provided staff to help serve.

The weary students and staff had a lot of fond memories from the morning and on the plus side, they were allowed to go home at 11:00 a.m. and also received free admission to the home basketball games that night versus Loretto.