Signal Mountain Middle/High School Dedicated

Thursday, July 31, 2008 - by Ruth Robinson
Sharing in cutting the ribbon for the new Signal Mountain Middle/High School were, from left, Claude Ramsey, Jim Scales and Eddie Gravitte while Chip Baker looks on.
Sharing in cutting the ribbon for the new Signal Mountain Middle/High School were, from left, Claude Ramsey, Jim Scales and Eddie Gravitte while Chip Baker looks on.
- photo by Ruth Robinson

"What a day," Signal Mountain Middle/High School Principal Eddie Gravitte exclaimed as the Signal Mountain community gathered to celebrate the opening of the new mountain school.

It was a community ready to cheer, clap and whistle and over 400 people gathered for the open house did just that. The celebration was held in the new school auditorium and each of the seven speakers was greeted with appreciation and standing ovations.

"What a dream you have here and a great place to learn. This shows what you can do with $40 million," said Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey. "The opportunity is here, but the question is what do you do with it. Do you take it to the next level."

To the children in the audience he said, "Come to this school to learn. The jobs coming to our community require an education. The opportunity is here to be the very best school and be a model for all the others. The building is completed. Now the work begins."

In introducing the speaker following him, Mr. Ramsey said "Without Richard Casavant, we wouldn't be here today."

The dream of a high school on the mountain has been around for half a century, several speakers noted, but the push that has resulted in the new school began about 10 years ago, according to Mr. Casavant, who has been a Hamilton County commissioner representing Signal Mountain during that time.

"It's been a few years, but the day we have waited for has come," Mr. Casavant said. "The school is more than a place for education, it is the center of the community."

"Today is a great day in Hamilton County," said Hamilton County Superintendent of Schools Jim Scales. "The dreams and aspirations of many people had a vision of what could take place. This building is made of brick and mortar, but it is people who will make it a great school, an anchor in the community. You have a fantastic school here and the people in the community will work to make it so. The principal (Eddie Gravitte) is the key"

Chip Baker, a member of the Hamilton County Board of Education, was lauded by the others as among those instrumental in gaining the school. His remarks were brief.

"Today is our celebration," he said. "Hamilton County is better because of you. Everyone has had an impact."

"It is hard not to be emotional today," said Mr. Gravitte, who choked up several times as he spoke. "Fifteen years ago I was hired to teach eighth grade history and coach at Signal Mountain Middle School. My dream was to some day be principal of a high school on the mountain. My dream has become reality."

After being appointed as principal, Mr. Gravitte has spent the past year working with everyone to create the new school. "The past year has been the highlight of my career, a school that is caring and committed to education. I hope I've been a small part in making this dream a reality."



Baylor Headmaster's Awards Service Honors 14 During Alumni Weekend

Baylor honored 14 members of the school community during the Headmaster's Awards and Memorial Chapel Service on Sunday as part of the school's Alumni Weekend festivities.  Michael Golden (class of 1967), vice chairman of the New York Times Company was this year's recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award; Scott Probasco (class of 1973) and Ben Probasco (class of 1978) ... (click for more)

Tennessee PTA Encourages Stringent Testing Procedures

Tennessee PTA released a statement Tuesday on the TNReady scoring news. "Tennessee PTA encourages the Tennessee Department of Education to mandate more stringent procedures to avoid problems with TNReady outcomes and testing. Teachers, parents and students have the right to timely accurate information on academic performance in order to make informed decisions and provide student ... (click for more)

County Commission Votes 7-2 For Rezoning For C&D Landfill At Harrison

The County Commission on Wednesday voted 7-2 to approve rezoning for a Construction and Debris landfill at Harrison.  Voting in favor were Greg Beck, Warren Mackey, Sabrena Smedley, Greg Martin, Tim Boyd, Randy Fairbanks and Jim Fields.   Opposed were Chester Bankston and Joe Graham.  Commissioner Boyd said it was just the first step in permitting for ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Airport To Go "Off The Grid" After Final Phase Of Solar Panel Installations

The Chattanooga Airport is embarking on the third and final phase of its solar farm, which when completed will allow the Airport to "go off the grid." John Naylor, Airport vice president, said, "This will give us all the power we need to run the Airport." He said EPB will assist with installation of a power storage unit and a micro-grid controller to make the change-over possible. ... (click for more)

Vote No On The Rezoning For A New Landfill In Harrison - And Response (3)

County Commissioners, please consider the following facts when voting on the rezoning request for a new privately-owned C&D landfill in Harrison.  Use of this property for a landfill has been rejected by the county three times in the past (1971, 1984 and 2007).  In 1971 and 2007 the County Commissioners unanimously rejected the proposal.  In 1984 the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Mom Don’t Have…I Do’

It’s hard to know what goes through the mind of a five-year-old, particularly one who watches her mom go in and out of jail due to drug addiction. But little Sunshine Oelfke is obviously being raised right by her grandmother because the other morning, the five-year-old came into the kitchen before leaving for kindergarten with a baggie full of coins from her piggy bank. “I asked ... (click for more)