Celebrating the present, looking toward the future
The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) students, teachers, staff and community members celebrated the official opening of one elementary school and the groundbreaking of another in March 2018.
Rockbridge Elementary Official Opening
Rockbridge Elementary, located at 445 Halwick Way in Stone Mountain, held its official ribbon cutting ceremony on March 16. The event featured student performances as well as statements from school and district officials.
Rockbridge shares Fernbank Elementary and Barack H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology’s new, state-of-the-art design, which features collaborative learning spaces, flexible fixtures to suit student needs, and improved security measures.
“This is a great moment and celebration for a future-ready elementary school. We have built a facility that will make sure the sky and beyond is the limit,” said DCSD Superintendent/CEO R. Stephen Green. “This doesn’t happen with one individual, one vote, or one recommendation. This happens with one collective village and one collective community. This is truly a village coming together. We will continue to build an edifice, one that supports the uplift of our children. We are committed to making sure our children’s future is limitless and always bright.”
Green announced on March 16 that The Associated General Contractors of Georgia awarded Rockbridge Elementary first place in its category in the Build Georgia Awards Program.
Principal Derrick brown thanked Dr. Green, central office staff and the Board of Education for allocating the resources to make the new facility possible.
“Our school’s aspiration is to prepare every student for higher education, careers and community service. We aim to instill values of hard work as well as giving back. Our elementary schools are the foundation for the remainder of our students’ education. If we help them build a solid foundation here, they will rise to the challenges they face academically and professionally to pursue their dreams,” said Brown.
Guests also enjoyed an instrumental flute performance from musician Arthur McLenton, a demonstration from the Rockbridge Cheer Squad, songs from the Rockbridge Honor Choir as well as teachers Dr. Donna Newsome and Brandon Marshall. Students Kaydence Redmond, Dashyre Altidor, Chantayvia Beckett, Jevon Williams and Aaliyah Walker also shared an inspirational poem promoting positivity and tolerance.
Region 3 Superintendent Rachel Zeigler concluded the event with remarks about Rockbridge’s history and continued heritage of success.
“This is tremendously a community school,” Zeigler said. “We came together and started the journey and started the ball rolling on this project. The school cannot live apart from the community. Thank you for partnering with DeKalb County School District.”
John R. Lewis Elementary Groundbreaking
Less than two weeks later, on March 29, the community joined DCSD in celebrating the groundbreaking of the new John R. Lewis Elementary, which will be located at 2630 Skyland Drive NE in Brookhaven.
The new John R. Lewis Elementary will also feature collaborative learning spaces, flexible fixtures, security improvements and abundant natural light.
The event featured remarks from DCSD Superintendent/CEO R. Stephen Green, John R. Lewis principal Julie Brown, Brookhaven mayor John Ernst, Region 1 Superintendent Sherry Johnson, as well as DeKalb County Board of Education members Vicki Turner, Marshall Orson and Jim McMahan.
“This is the first public school in the nation to bear the name of United States congressman and renowned civil rights leader John Lewis,” said Dr. Green. “This is a prime example of one team, one voice and one DeKalb.”
Principal Brown said John R. Lewis is built on five pillars: targeted instruction, bridging gaps, communicating with the community, improving the school climate, and working in partnership.
“We’re going to exceed expectations,” Brown said. “Our students came up with a school motto on their own: We are smart, kind and hardworking. We are courageous and going to college. We are the John Lewis Jaguars. Perfection is unattainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
Mayor John Ernst said it is important to remember the overall aim and goal of the new facility: educating children.
Board members Vicki Turner, Marshall Orson and Jim McMahan also made remarks to celebrate the joyous occasion.
Attendees also enjoyed an inspirational poem from two John Lewis students as well as a recorder performance.