More than 100 Years to Be Bright
The Bright School Song
The Bright School Song is sung throughout the school year at school-wide assemblies and programs.
We sing a proud song, a song of loving praise
To our Bright School and to these golden days.
In our minds, in our hearts, in our living, too.
Bright School, may we be your source of pride
In all the coming years.
--Words by Mrs. Joe Johnson Jr.
The Bright School Picnic is a time-honored tradition going back more than 100 years. All students and their families gather with faculty and staff for games and lunch. For several decades, the picnic was held at Warner Park, but it has since moved to Cross Creek Farm in Ringgold, Georgia, thanks to the Peeples family. The P.E. coaches organize races for each grade, including the sack and three-legged. Grades square off against each other in the tug of war, and the fifth graders get a shot at battling their parents. After the races, families eat fried chicken and sandwiches. The day ends with the fifth grade’s annual softball game.
Originally begun in the mid-1980s as a Parents’ Association fundraiser, Bonanza is a carnival-like event for families held each fall at the school and still organized by the Parents’ Association.
Fifth graders, the leaders of the school, are assigned one or two buddies in kindergarten at the beginning of each year. As one of the most endearing traditions of the school, the older buddies mentor the younger students throughout the year. There are various events in which they get to know each other such as the hoedown each fall, a Christmas book exchange and ice cream social.
School founder Mary G. Bright was interested in keeping children’s minds and bodies active. P.E. classes and recess for each grade are held every day of the week, making Bright School among the few public or private schools nationally to offer such daily activity. The P.E. program is home of many of its own traditional events such as the faculty and fifth grade volleyball game in the fall, scooter races, high jump and faculty vs. fifth grade softball game in the spring.
Another important part of Miss Bright’s curriculum was woodworking or manual training, and generations of alumni call shop one of their favorite classes. Kindergarten through fifth grade students attend shop half of the year, rotating with art class. The shop teacher brings small projects to the pre-kindergarten classrooms. One of the most recognizable and cherished objects created in shop is the Bright School Santa. Alumni send pictures of their Santas as home decorations during the holidays.
Grades kindergarten through fifth grade perform plays each year. Pre-kindergarten has a singing performance as part of their traditional spring luau. Directed by the grade-level teachers, the plays give each child a chance to be on stage, sing and say lines.
Another tradition started by Miss Bright was the arrival of Santa Claus during the Christmas program, which is held the half day starting Christmas break. Santa Claus enters the Centennial Theater while the students are singing and comes to the stage, which is decorated with a large tree. Santa gives a candy cane to all the alumni in the audience. The longest-tenured faculty member gets the privilege of helping introduce the alumni.
Fifth graders are in charge of raising and lowering the American and Bright School flags each week.
The Bright Post is the school’s internal post office run by third graders, who collect, check and stamp and deliver postcards students write to each other and faculty and staff throughout the year. Each classroom has its own address, and students learn how to properly address an envelope. The Bright Post was established in 2012 by Julie Guerry, a former parent and the school’s current Board of Trustees chair.
This athletic event was started in 1977 by Bob Cutrer, P.E. teacher at the time. Any fifth grader may participate, and fourth graders qualify to jump at the event based on clearing a certain height during P.E. class. The entire school comes to watch in the gym.
Bright School Lunch
The traditional lunch in the cafeteria consists of ground steak, mashed potatoes and green beans. The origin of the lunch is unclear but goes back at least to the early 1960s. It used to be served each week but is now reserved to a few times each year.