- Category: News
19 May 2011
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
Special to the Tri-State Defender
Northaven Elementary School principal Louis Padgett knows about floods.
“When I was growing up the Alabama and Coosa rivers used to flood all the time,” Padgett said Monday afternoon.
| President Barack Obama listens as Memphis Mayor A C Wharton speaks on Monday (May 16) during a meeting with elected officials and families affected by the floods in Memphis. The meeting, which was closed to the media, also included aid workers and fire and police officials. It took place in a Cook Convention Center meeting room prior to President Obama’s commencement address to Booker T. Washington High School. (White House photo by Pete Souza)|
The only school located within the Memphis city limits that is part of the Shelby County Schools (SCS) system, Northaven Elementary is home to 467 students in grades Pre-K through 5 and, according to Padgett, his school was greatly affected by the flooding.
“Of the 467 students, 70 percent…were counted for as present while several other students are living with residents in zip code 38127,” he said. “Not only that, we have 26 students living in the shelter located at Hope Church on Walnut Grove and three counted for in the Cummings Street shelter.”
Padgett said that the students housed in the shelters haven’t missed a beat with schoolwork, due in part to SCS providing instruction to those students who are unable to make the trip to Northaven.
However, as the flood waters decrease, Padgett sees another area of concern for the school.
“There are several flooded mobile home communities that are home to Northaven students,” he said, “most notably Country View Homes on Old Millington Road and Kingsway Green, which is south of the Loosahatchie River. With those mobile home communities receiving flood damage, my big concern is how many of those students will return to Northaven in 2011-12.”
Padgett discussed the various calls he’s received from displaced parents, some from as far away as Atlanta.
“They literally say the same thing, which is that they want their children to come back to Northaven. But what will they return to?”
As far as the future of the community is concerned, Padgett envisions different ways to building community pride.
“The main source of community pride here is the youth football team that plays in Northaven Park on weekends,” he said, “Outside of that and the school; there are few outlets in which people can be proud of here in Northaven.”
Padgett envisions a brand-new strip mall for the Northaven community, one that would not only create revenue for the community, but also jobs and small business owners.
“Right now in Northaven business-wise,” he said, “the only thing here is the Penny Pincher on Circle Road. We want to have something here that can be a source of community pride and a strip mall here could be the thing that Northaven needs.”
NOTE: Scott Milholland with Shelby Cares Shelter at Hope Presbyterian Church on Wednesday said 190 people were housed there, with over 400 in the five shelters provided by the county.