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LIGHTNING PHOTOS: Edneyville School result of 'deciding what's important'

Kindergarten student Wyatt Redmond and fifth grader Isabella Remond cut the ribbon for the new Edneyville Elementary School on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Kindergarten student Wyatt Redmond and fifth grader Isabella Remond cut the ribbon for the new Edneyville Elementary School on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Elected leaders, apple country parents, school teachers and students celebrated the completion of the new Edneyville Elementary School on Wednesday with praise and gratitude for a process that was difficult at times but a triumph ultimately.

From her seat on the front row, School Board member Dot Case, a beloved teacher at Edneyville for 40 years, could see teachers gathered who had been her students. The ribbon-cutting celebration signified a make-good for the decision 30 years ago to replace Edneyville High School with the new North Henderson High School..
“It is gaining back a loss,” Case said. “We lost our high school so this is big for the community because we’re finally getting something new and it is fantastic. It makes me want to cry because it was just so special. I’m so glad the kids were here. They’re part of history. They don't realize that yet. … I can’t wait till there’s the open house for the community because they’re going to be so awed of this school. It is an awesome school and they deserve it. I was part of this community for 47 years and it’s like coming home for me.”
Sheriff Lowell Griffin, an Edneyville native, also celebrated the new school.
“It’s long overdue for the community,” he said. “When the Edneyville community lost a high school, it was like the Edneyville community lost their identity. So now they’ve got a facility back here that they can be proud of.”
The old school that will be bulldozed next year was new when little Lowell Griffin entered elementary school.
“It’s the right thing to do but if that building’s outdated does it mean I’m outdated? I don’t know,” he said. “This is tremendous. It’s time to move on.”

The ribbon-cutting also highlighted a case where disparate parties worked through their differences to reach a consensus and then form a common goal.

“I don’t know that I’ve felt more proud to work for the school system than I do on a day like today,” associate schools Superintendent John Bryant said. “This is what it’s all about. The children of our community who will soon have a new home, a home that they have watched being built in their backyard, with excitement, joy, anticipation. This is an extraordinary day.”
“This was a true labor of love," he added, "and it starts with leadership — our Board of Commissioners, our county manager, those who serve the departments, our Board of Education, the (construction) team from Beverly Grant-Barnhill, the (design) team from ClarkNexsen. Every man and woman had a role to play in order for this school to become home to each student on Jan. 6.”
County Manager Steve Wyatt and schools Superintendent Bo Caldwell led with “resolve and passion and commitment,” Bryant said. The successful partnership shows “what can happen when the community holds hands and says, ‘We’ve decided what’s important. Let’s do it together.’”
County Commission Chair Grady Hawkins acknowledged the apple country had been eager for the new school for long time.
“It’s finally here, the long awaited Edneyville Elementary School,” he said.
School Board Chair Blair Craven recalled that three years ago, attending his first School Board meeting as a newly elected member, that he was baptized by a long night of some 30 Edneyville parents, consuming up to three minutes apiece to plead for a new school. “And then I got home and my wife asked me, ‘How’d it go?’ I said, ‘I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into.’”
Ultimately, those Edneyville parents and community leaders won the day.
“I truly truly thank you all for advocating for the community,” Craven said. “This is something you guys can be proud of for generations to come.”
Caldwell recalled going to Edneyville Elementary often as a school parent, when teachers would ask him when they could expect to see a new school. “Be patient,” he would say. He finally won a bet with a particularly persistent doubter — a chili slaw dog from Hot Dog World — when construction started.
The new building is a state-of-the-art facility, he said. On Monday, Jan. 6, when one essential ingredient is added, the children, it becomes a school.
“Once a year, at Christmastime, I try to wear red and green but today it’s black and gold,” he said.