By Max Hrenda
According to Collins, there’s a very simple reason for that.
“Because I’m a kid myself,” Collins said. “I’m one of those people who never grew up. I got older, but I never grew up.”
Even though Collins denies growing up, she has spent the majority of her life in Carter County, and actually grew up in the Carter County school system.
“I actually went here the first year this school was opened,” Collins said.
After graduating from East Tennessee State University in 1981, Collins found her way back to Carter County Schools when her former second-grade teacher, Love Haynes, retired from Central Elementary. For the next seven years, Collins would teach kindergarten, first-, and second-grade, before permanently becoming a fifth-grade social studies teacher in 1988.
Eleven years ago, when HVMS incorporated the fifth grade, Collins came with them. Unlike the younger students, Collins said fifth-graders are more likely to show their excitement and desire for learning.
“I love this age, because they are interested in what’s going on around them,” Collins said. “They’ll go home, come back and say their grandma told them this, or their grandpa was a World War II veteran. There are kids who are really passionate about history.”