“Sims school isn’t a place, it is a spirit,” said former Sims Elementary School principal Ella Stuebing. “And it is that spirit that will become part of the new elementary school.”

Stuebing addressed a gathering to say good bye to the school during decommissioning ceremonies in Bridge City, Friday. Built in 1966 E.E. Sims Elementary did not survive Hurricane Ike in 2008. Also destroyed was Hatton Elementary across town where a sprawling new elementary school will soon be completed.

Current students of both elementary school are still in portable buildings since the storm.

The flag was raised and the famous Sims Elementary chocolate oatmeal cookies were served. The last batch to ever be made in the school cafeteria.

After 44 years, the Sims decommissioning occurred on the same day, Dec. 17, that the Bridge City Cardinals won the State Football Championship the season the school opened. It was an ultra modern school in its time and included air conditioning- a luxury the students who attended Hatton did not have. Only students living east of Texas-87 (Texas Avenue) attended school at the new Sims.

BCISD Superintendent Dr. Jamey Harrison remarked about both incidences. “Many of you on this day in 1966, were in Waco watching the Cardinals win the state football championship,” Harrison said. He asked for a show of hand for all in attendance who were either teachers or students at the time. It was an easy majority.

Harrison paid tribute to former school board members and administrators. Glen Sims, the son of school namesake, E.E. Sims, 92, spoke on behalf of his father, a former superintendent for BCISD.

Stuebing, who was principal at the school from 1984 until her retirement in 2001, commended her staff and teachers during her tenure. “We made things fun,” she said, “and because we had fun I think the students had fun too.” She is the wife of Terry Stuebing, a retired Bridge City High School principal.

Also taking the microphone was Gina Manino who attended Sims as a student and is now Assistant Superintendent of the school district. Manino was principle at Sims from 2003 to 2006 before becoming principal at BCHS and then moved to an administrative position.

Current school board member Mark Anderson was a first grader when the school was opened. “I learned that by misbehaving I would get a paddling at Sims. It is something that followed me all the way through high school- every time I misbehaved,” he laughed.

Joe Vanbreeman was the first principal for Sims Elementary until his retirement in 1984. Replacing Stuebing as principal was Sandra Rose, 2001-2003. Tammie Skelton became principal in 2006-2008. Kent Brousard 2008-2010. Currently, Kelly McBride serves a principal for E.E. Sims Elementary School.

Demolition of the school will begin shortly according to Harrison. The spacious grounds of the school will be retained by the school district for now. Harrison was instrumental in gaining government disaster relief funds and other resources to build the new Bridge City Elementary school at no additional cost to Bridge City tax payers.