Panama City- Most school kids started thinking about it months ago. It arrived Friday, at least for Bay County students. It marked the last day of school and students at Tommy Smith Elementary School were excited. "My plans are to go swimming in my grandma's pool a lot, and I think I'm going to Tennessee," said Sarah Grainger, a Tommy Smith Elementary School student.
For some teachers, it also means a new start. Ida Pennington has been a 3rd grade teacher at Tommy Smith Elementary since it opened 20 years ago. Her career has spanned nearly four decades, but Friday was Pennington's last "last day." After 37 years she's retiring.
"I hope that I've been able to touch many many lives in a positive way. You have children that have grown up and they've completed college and they still come back and tell you how they've impacted your life as a third grade teacher. I think that means more to me than anything, said Pennington.
Both students and fellow teachers said Pennington has been an inspiration they're going to miss. "She's a nice teacher and I wish I could see her in fourth grade," said one student.
"She finished strong. She taught to her best every single day. She did not slide. She did not 'Ok I’m out of here here,' she finished strong," said a fellow teacher. And as the clock ticked closer to the end of the school day, the students loaded onto their buses and the teachers said their traditional good-byes.
Meanwhile, the emotion of it all set in for Pennington.
"The teachers here, they're a great support system. We're like family and we have lots of great memories," said Pennington. Pennington said she bought a sander and plans to take up carpentry.