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."


Piedmont College Singers In Concert On March 2

The Piedmont College Singers, a select 44-voice chorus from Piedmont College in Demorest, Ga, will be performing at Pilgrim Congregational Church on Monday, March 2, at 7 p.m. as part of their spring tour. The concert is free and open to the public.  The choral group is led by Dr. C. Wallace Hinson, conductor. "This select ensemble performs a wide variety of literature from ... (click for more)

Alexander Says Bipartisan Report Finds Colleges In A Jungle Of Red

Senator Lamar Alexander on Tuesday said a report released by a task force of college and university leaders—and commissioned by a bipartisan group of senators—shows colleges in a jungle of red tape that “should be an embarrassment to all of us in the federal government.” At a hearing on the report, Senator Alexander said, “These should not be excused as normal, run-of-the mill ... (click for more)

FCC Votes 3-2 To Approve EPB's Request To Expand Its Broadband Offerings

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to allow EPB to expand its broadband offerings to neighboring communities. Chairman Tom Wheeler and two other Democrats were in favor, while the two Republican members said the agency was acting illegally in overriding state law. EPB's phone, Internet and TV offerings have been far more successful than expected and ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Schools, UTC To Close Friday; Other Closings Announced

Due to remaining snow on some of the roadways and the potential for black ice overnight and into the morning, Hamilton County Schools will be closed on  Friday . School Age Child Care will also be closed. Employees who accrue vacation will report by  10 a.m.  and maintenance employees will report on regular schedule.  All classes are being ... (click for more)

Rep. Holt: Republicans And Democrats Join Forces To Outlaw Traffic Cameras

Newly elected Senator Lee Harris (D-Memphis) and I would seem like total polar opposites politically. He's from the big city of Memphis; I'm from a small town in rural Tennessee; He's a Democrat, I'm a Republican; He's black, I'm white; He's in the Senate, I'm in the House. Unfortunately, many would draw a seemingly logical conclusion that we don't like each other-- that we would ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: They Are Americans, Too

Roger Dean Kiser is something of a legend. Aside from being one of the best story-tellers I know of – I’ve read his works for years – the fact he came upon it honest, like Chattanooga’s Roger Allan Wade, makes him kind of special. Again, I’ve followed him for a long time. By the time he was four, he had been abandoned by parents and grandparents alike. The state of Florida placed ... (click for more)