April 23, 2012 – the board of education received great news from then Superintendent C.C. Lester. After four attempts to gain funding from the School Building Authority for the Hillsboro Elementary School cafeteria, the board was finally told “yes.”
Less than two years later, on March 16, the board hosted a dedication of the brand new cafeteria/commons area.
The project successfully connected the school building to the gymnasium, eliminating the problem of walking from building to building in all kinds of weather. Now students are able to go to lunch without umbrellas and without heavy winter coats.
BOE guest Delegate Denise Campbell discussed the importance of a project of this nature and congratulated the school and board on the accomplishment.
“Of the schools that I hear about in Pocahontas County and Randolph County – the two counties that I represent – I hear the most positive things about Hillsboro Elementary School: the teaching staff that you have here and the principals that have been here,” Campbell said. “I think this is a great addition to the school because students need to be around a pleasant appearance. We upgrade our homes and I think our students deserve to have a building and an environment that is up-to-date and is pleasing to the sight.”
Superintendent Dr. Donald Bechtel, who was initially hired at HES principal in July, spoke of three key words that describe the school: patience, persistence and pride.
Illustrating his point with personal stories, Bechtel explained how the three words worked together.
“Patience – it was worth the wait,” he said. “There’s an old part of the building and a newer part of the building, and finally, we sit here and we marvel at this beautiful space connecting them.
“Persistence,” he continued. “Isn’t that a trait that we want for each student? For us to nurture their persistence? They’re going to need that as they move along. Today as I look at this facility, our dedication, it’s the last piece of the puzzle and it’s a masterpiece.
“Pride,” he finished. “When I got here at the end of July, I quickly understood that the ethos for Hillsboro and Pocahontas County is ‘no whining is allowed.’ Because you’ve had to walk from the school, outside, in all sorts of weather, go to the cafeteria to have lunch and come back in the rain, in the snow and ice. No whining was allowed.”
Bechtel added that the pride did not stop at the school but continued into the community. As he got to know the staff at the school, they had his best interests at heart. As winter neared, they spread the word that the new principal, who was driving from Lewisburg every day, needed a place to live in Hillsboro.
“Within 24 hours, I had a call from Ruby and Dick Burns,” Bechtel said. “They had a place [for me] to live.”
Also offering congratulations for the project were board of education president Emery Grimes, Hillsboro mayor Anne Walker, former BOE members Ruth Taylor and Tom VanReenen and The Pretty Penny owner Blair Campbell.
Bechtel recognized the staff and all those involved in the project. The school team consists of principal Michelle Jeffers, all the faculty, Hillsboro Senior Citizens, school system treasurer Sherry Radcliff, cafeteria manager Doris Sharp, head custodian Sondra Vaughan, custodian Caleb Barkley, Clerk of Works Sollie Workman, maintenance supervisor Darin McKenney, maintenance David Arter and food services coordinator Lisa Dennison.
Also recognized for their contributions to the completion of the project were Matt Breakey of ALPHA Architects and Engineering, Chris Payne of MIRC, Kevin Tyron of Hooten Equipment and Donald Rose of Rose Excavation.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org