For the first time since its groundbreaking, the buzz around the new Waxahachie High School campus Saturday morning was not from construction crews or heavy machinery.
Waxahachie ISD administrators, city officials and over 100 supporters gathered on the front lawn of the campus for its official dedication. It was a morning that Waxahachie Mayor Kevin Strength proclaimed to be "the most significant event in 50 years for Waxahachie.”
The dedication included a cornerstone ceremony conducted by the Grand Masonic Lodge and a ceremonial ribbon cutting led by the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce. State Representative John Wray then issued a proclamation.
The district also recognized several community members who played paramount roles in the construction of the new high school. Those individuals included former board members, community partners, members of the construction and architecture team, the 2014 Long Range Planning Committee, and city, county and state officials.
Waxahachie ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeremey Glenn called the dedication a "humbling" experience.
"You know the original Wilemon building, which first served as the high school for the district, was built in 1917. A little over 50 years later, 1970, the current Waxahachie High School was built, and we are nearly 50 years later, opening up this facility," said Glenn to those seated in white folding chairs on the lawn. "Having the opportunity to see the past educators recognized, along with those individuals who are so instrumental in what we are doing now to educate kids. Really seeing the past, present and future come together to open this facility it’s humbling, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Waxahachie High School principal Dr. Al Benskin followed Glenn and stated he is "extremely excited to be the principal of this building — to be a principal in this fine community. The opportunity, the openness, this building it’s just awesome.
"We have awesome students and an amazing community, administration. And truly, this is a combination of a lot of people’s hard work. It’s to benefit our future. As principal of Waxahachie High School, I’m extremely proud.”
Other speakers included James Villarreal, WISD board president; Dusty Autrey, WISD board vice-president; Dr. Jeremy Glenn, Clyde Melick, WISD Assistant Superintendent of Facilities, Rep. Wray, and Strength.
In addition to the festivities, WISD recognized the former educators who will have portions of the new campus — or other campuses — renamed in their honor next school year.
Those educators include:
Billy Bates — new CTE center
Benton and Wanda Cain — new high school library
Harold Dorsey — new high school courtyard
Eugene Head — new Performing Arts Center
Bill Midkiff — new outdoor athletic complex
Ronnie Siebert — new indoor activity center
Mike Turner — gymnasium complex at new high school
Evelyn Coleman — Coleman Junior High
Billy Ray Hancock — new Global campus (current Ninth Grade Academy)