Photos by Rome City Schools
After a ton of planning and hard work, the doors of Main Elementary are officially open for the 2019-2020 school year.
Willie the Wolf and the Rome High School drum line entertained the crowd while RCS Board members, schools administrators, Central Office faculty members, educators, community stakeholders, local government officials, parents and students greeted each other and celebrated this system milestone.
Set to hold classes tomorrow, the new building drew excitement from the crowd as they waited patiently to hear from speakers and a tour. After a welcome by Tashia Twyman, Director of Communications and Community Engagement, Superintendent Louis Byars recognized all of the people responsible for seeing this project through. He wanted to send a special thank you to the RCS Board members and the faculty at Main for their work in getting the school ready for the 2019-2020 school year.
“Of course, Main has a rich history,” Byars said, “and that history is such a large part of Rome City Schools’ history. So, being able to celebrate the opening of this beautiful school is important for our community. This would not have been possible without the support of our entire community and I want to thank you all for helping us to complete this project.”
“We are very thankful for the outpouring of support from our Rome community,” said Twyman. “Our corner of the great State of Georgia always shows up in droves to let the students know how much they care. What a marvelous day it has been and we are so thankful for all of the hard work from our teachers, faculty and staff. This is such a great day that is a long time in the making.”
After Louis Byars finished thanking all who had a hand in making the build of the new Main Elementary a success, several members of the community offered their thoughts about this historic moment. Dr. LaRoyce Sublett, Principal and Mrs. Faith Collins, Chairperson of the RCS Board of Education spoke to the crowd that spanned the entire length of the front of the school.
Also offering their memories about the school and words about how excited they are for the future were Mayor Bill Collins, Mrs. Esther Vaughn (a former RCS alumna, principal and educator), Rev. Carey Ingram (Main alumnus), 27-year-veteran educator for Main Elementary Mrs. Lisa Johnson, and sixth grader Tracy Moore.
Dr. Sublett and his new assistant principal, Stephanie Dean, are ready to not only open the doors to their students but also open doors to their futures through education.
“We are a team,” Dr. Sublett said of his assistant, Dean. “We have some of the best teachers in our system right here in this school and we are going to work to keep our children safe and protected. This event is just the start of what we hope to accomplish. We want to include our community in our plan, because with their help, we can be successful.”
“Dr. Sublett is right,” Dean added. “We want our community to become our family. We have really been working hard all summer long on getting ready to welcome our students and their families with open arms.”
Larger classroom sizes, improvements in technology used for teaching and the modern design of the building are things Dr. Sublett said his teachers are excited about.
“We have several historic displays in our school because we want to build on the history that is already in place here at Main,” Dr. Sublett said. “We have photos of prior administrators on the wall to recognize all who have helped in this journey. We are going to add to that wall, and in doing so, we are offering our part to the traditions.”
“I want all of our students to know that tomorrow they become a part of our family,” Dean smiled.
Janice Singleton is a paraprofessional at Main Elementary and she has worked with children in the Main school district for many years. To say that she is excited is an understatement. “I have been overjoyed for the past two weeks,” Singleton said. “This is a wonderful way for our children to start the new year and I think this will encourage them to appreciate what has been done on their behalf. I think this project says to them, through their community and through tax dollars, that they are loved and deserving of something nice like this new school. This is beautiful and I am very proud of this new school and the RCS system. I just want our students to respect the sacrifices of those who came before them and be inspired by their teachers and what they can accomplish.”
Esther Vaughn is a former principal at Main and she said that she can’t stop giving back, even though she has retired after 31 years of service in Rome City Schools. “I have come full circle, from student to teacher and later to principal, and that is a great feeling to have,” she said as one of her former students offered her words of admiration from across the room. “I am blessed to see this happen. I looked at the pictures on the wall and I saw all of the people who came before me. All of those people are gone. They have left us. So, now it starts with me and it is my responsibility to pass on what has kept me encouraged and hopeful for all of these years. I am so happy to see this day.”
Young Zy’ion Wright, along with his mother Christian Wright, waited outside the school as the crowd made its way into the lobby. Zy’ion will be a first grader at Main this year. The young boy’s head rose as his eyes climbed the walls of his new school and he smiled.
“I have a new Fortnite backpack for school tomorrow and I can’t wait to show it to all of my friends,” he said.
Seeing the look on his little face tomorrow is going to be priceless.