By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
“I might be the most excited person here tonight, because I’m a member of the Class of 1979. We started as freshmen when the original building opened in 1974, and we were the first to graduate all four years in this building. But this building looks nothing like the one I was in. It’s amazing,” said Corbin School Board Chair Kim Croley, who opened the program.
While thanking those who made the building possible, Croley gave a special shout-out to the Class of 2013, who graduates next Friday, May 17.
“I do applaud our seniors because they lived through ‘Construction Hades.’ They went with the flow. It tells a lot about the character of the students, the faculty and staff,” she added.
Wearing a bright green T-shirt to help give tours of the new facility after the dedication, Senior Class President Alex Chumbley recalled those times when the three phases of construction went on during his entire four years in high school.
“When I was a sophomore, our patience really paid off. … Finally, the third phase, the cafeteria and art room, will be complete before we graduate,” he noted.
After the Corbin High School JROTC made the Presentation of Colors, the Corbin High School Band Ensemble played “The Star Spangled Banner.” That was followed by the invocation by student Wayne Logan. After the prayer, Croley recognized special guests on the podium and seated in the audience.
“We need to dedicate it (the new building) to the future students and staff, as well as those from years past. Some of them are not with us anymore. This is also a time of remembrance,” she said.
After she introduced Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney, he spoke of the work done on the school, and complimented the school district.
“This is virtually a new school. It may be old to some of you, but it’s a new school to many of us. The Corbin Independent Schools has given the City of Corbin a new tool of pride. Throughout the state, they know about the district’s achievements and accomplishments of the school system. Congratulations,” he said.
Two former Board of Education members who were instrumental with having the vision to get the project started also spoke. The audience heard first from former Board Chair Debbie Cook, followed by former Board Vice-Chair Dr. Carmel Wallace.
“We have teachers, staff and students who went the extra mile. I look around and I think the best for Corbin High School lies in the future,” Cook pointed out.
“I had the pleasure for 16 years to work with professionals. When we looked for a superintendent, they said, ‘Hire a professional.’ and they got one when they hired Ed McNeel. Thanks to the current board members, and for keeping the dream alive,” said Wallace.
Telling those in attendance, “We strive for excellence in everything we do,” Croley asked three Corbin High administrators to stand up and come to the stage. Principal John Derek Faulconer and Assistant Principals Nicole Brock and John Crawford were commended for their excellence in running the high school and got a rousing round of applause.
Superintendent Ed McNeel thanked the building’s architect, Kevin Cheek of Sherman-Cartr-Barnhart; contractor David Jackson of Hacker Brothers, Inc.; construction manager Clifford Huddleston; the assistant for facilities, Darrell Tremaine, who recently retired from the district; and Joyce Phillips, the principal of Corbin High from 1996-2001 for their help, guidance and inspiration in making the project a reality.
“The architects, the contractors and crew, and the construction manager went above and beyond in completing this,” he noted.
Then, with the help of Faulconer — who recently asked Huddleston if he happened to have a spare hard hat around, which Huddleston gave to him — both Faulconer and McNeel returned Huddleston’s hard hat back to him. This time, it was cleaned, painted white and had a big red oval with a white “C” on it.
McNeel gave his closing remarks, thanking the citizens of Corbin for their help in raising the funding needed through the years which went a long way in making several physical improvements.
“Because of that step, you, the community, allowed us to build a new primary school and build virtually a new high school. There’s not many communities that took that bold step. … You know our motto. We will never get there, but we will always strive to be the best. Thank you,” he said.
The dedication closed with the singing of “God Bless America” by Abbi Disney, a sixth grader at Corbin Intermediate School.
During and after the ceremony, tours of the building were given to the community by students serving as tour guides. The Corbin Board of Education also met in a special session, across the hallway from the performing arts center in the high school’s media room.