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."


Lee Conducts Remote Piano Master Class With Juilliard Professor

As a part of Lee University’s 13th annual International Piano Festival, Dr. Michael Shinn of the Juilliard School in New York taught a live interactive master class for participating students.  Students performed for Dr. Shinn on a Yamaha DCFX Disklavier PRO concert grand piano on Lee’s campus while a similarly equipped high-tech “reproducing” instrument at Yamaha Artist ... (click for more)

Roger Shen Takes First Place In Lee’s Piano Competition

Roger Shen took first place in the 13th annual Lee University piano competition for the collegiate division. The award ceremony concluded the International Piano Festival and Competition held June 11-17 on Lee’s campus.  Third place was awarded to Chin-An Lin, with an honorable mention going to Tzu-Jung Peng. For the pre-collegiate division, rather than traditional first, ... (click for more)

Smith Denies He Told Young To Shoot Holsey In North Chattanooga Drug Deal That Cost A Life; Asks Jury To Spare Him Life Sentence

Briston "B.J." Smith told a Criminal Court jury on Friday afternoon that he never ordered Adram "A.B." Young to shot Charles "Chas" Holsey in a North Chattanooga drug deal that cost a life. Smith, who was 18 at the time and is now 20, asked the jury not to put him behind bars for life. The state is seeking a life sentence (51 years) on a first-degree felony murder charge. ... (click for more)

12 "Johns" Arrested In Multi-Agency Prostitution Sting Operation In East Ridge, Including Doctor, Teacher

A joint operation was conducted on Wednesday by the East Ridge Police Department in cooperation with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, Chattanooga Police Department, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to combat human trafficking and prostitution complaints within the city of East Ridge. The operation was conducted over a two-day period when online advertisements ... (click for more)

Exempt Volunteer Fire Departments From Procurement Policies - And Response

The Hamilton County Commission just grouped a bunch of departments together in an attempt to reign in the CVB. I haven't spoken to any commissioners, but I truly believe it was unknowingly. By mandating that all non profits that receive 25 percent of their revenue follow county procurement policies, they might as well have padlocked all local volunteer fire departments. We expect ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

I am constantly amazed by the many emails that I receive every day. Quite curiously, I get a heavier load than I would ever have thought because the big search engines on the Internet send my Chattanoogan.com stories far and wide. Even the local ones on the Chattanooga area bring comments and I am deeply flattered. I try to read them and lament I haven’t the time to respond the ... (click for more)