Destin High officially cuts the ribbon on the new campus
It was an evening of celebration for the entire community as Destin High School officially cut the ribbon in the student assembly hall which will be packed with students on Tuesday morning.
But Thursday night, it was all about community and travel. From the Destin Fire Control District, pulling the ladder trucks to tie a huge American flag across the street to mark the entrance to the school for city and county leaders who come to attend the ‘event.
Even new students participated in the event. Parker Sexton, a grade 11 student, led the pledge of allegiance and Bird Hinze, also a grade 11 student, sang the national anthem.
But before that happened, Destiny developer Davage “Buddy” Runnels introduced the flag.
Runnels, now 76, was invited at the age of 5 to hoist the flag at Destin Elementary School and was invited to do so on the 50th anniversary of elementary schools.
“We thought it was appropriate to invite him to our school and raise our first flag,” said Heidi LoCicero, Destin High board member.
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After the engagement, Runnels recounted how his family moved to Destin in 1951 and how the only economy in Destin at the time was fishing.
Runnels explained how he started in the old school on Calhoun Avenue and once a week the students would walk in single file to the library at the community center and read a book.
“The important thing about here… and how important this high school is, is because of the hard work, because of the Founding Fathers, because of the rich heritage,” Runnels said. “I would like to say to those who graduated from this high school to be very grateful to those who worked so hard to make this a possibility.
“Such a job well done and congratulations to all who made it possible,” said Runnels.
During the evening, all of the Destin High Board of Trustees spoke about how far the school has come to get there and what the school will offer. They spoke about the campus, the more than 250 donations, community partnerships, the teaching staff, the program, athletics and technology.
The members of the board of directors of Destin High are Dr Prebble Ramswell, Chairman; Denise Fontaine, vice-president; Myra Williams, secretary; Sarah Stone, treasurer; Heidi LoCicero; Jim Luttrell; Dr Mitchell Silver; Drew Palmer; and Chris Harris.
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“Of all the things in my life, this is one of the most exciting,” said director Christine Cruickshank.
She explained how much she already loves her staff and how they are already bonding.
“They are already having too much fun in the halls,” she said.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Ramswell, high school board chair, watching the crowd.
“We’ve come a long way,” she said, noting that the journey started for the board five years ago. “And here we are tonight with Destin High School. It is a unification of this whole community.
“We are more than a school,” she said. She explained that it would be a social hub, a “dynamism” in the community and an “economic engine”.
“This school is for our community, it’s for everyone,” she said.
And before the ribbon is cut, complete with confetti and flying beach balls, said LoCicero, “the rooms are officially open. Turn the page and write the new story of Destiny.
Before the grand opening on Thursday evening, many hours were spent preparing for the school.
Just last Saturday, the school organized a “very practical” work day. About 75 people from across the community showed up to assemble the desk, put away files for orientation, load bags with all kinds of gifts and treats for incoming students, and even just clean the kitchen.
A number of people from Oceans Church were there to help, while others were incoming students and parents of students, and some just teachers trying to get a head start on preparing their rooms. .
“We’re here to do whatever needs to be done,” said Aaron Olson of Oceans as he assembled a desk in one of the school’s offices.
Myra Williams of the board was outside doing her part and pruning some of the palm trees.
Cheerleading coach Jo Walls would go through some of the new school t-shirts, pull them apart and fold them.
Ramswell walked around the school, knocking in every room and checking his list. Ramswell’s husband Tony even got to work.
“My wife convinced me,” Tony said, laughing.
He went from room to room raising the desks to the correct height for the high school students. The offices were donated to Liza Jackson’s Destin High, who just got a new school in Fort Walton Beach.
“It’s my third today,” Tony said, referring to the classrooms.
Once that was all said and done on Saturday, Prebble said, “With school starting in just over a week, the workday was a time to put the finishing touches on the Destin High School campus and to really get a feel for the excitement being felt by newcomers, students and the community at large.
And on Tuesday, that will become a reality when the first students walk through the doors of Destin High.