Middle School Director Jim Van Es scheduled the traditional meeting at the flag pole to start off the day. There, he asked whether there were any birthdays and spoke to students about the new building.
“Don’t be nervous or confused,” he said. “I still don’t know where everything is. If you get lost, I’ll help you. If I get lost, please help me.”
The students also recited their daily motto and pledge to the flag.
After the meeting, the ceremony began with guest speakers including Rome Mayor Wright Bagby; Al Hodge, CEO of the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce; and Frank Stegall, Board of Trustees chairman.
Bagby issued a challenge to the teachers to love the children and give them budding opportunities and issued a challenge to students to take a minute when they get home to thank parents or family for helping them go to Darlington.
“When we bring in national VIPs,” explained Hodge, “we always make it a part of their itinerary to come by Darlington.”
“This school is incredibly impressive,” he said about the new building.
The new school is a two-story building with 18 classrooms, a wireless media center, a choral room, a band room, a kitchen and dining hall, and student commons that will accommodate approximately 200 fifth- through eighth-graders.
Funding for the new middle school was made possible through Darlington’s Second Century Campaign, which kicked off March 4, 2008.
The ultimate goal of the campaign is to raise $90 million to support future projects at the school, including updated technology and equipment, improvements to boys’ houses and financial aid.
“This building has been quite a challenge. Eight years of planning, five different designs and several location changes,” said Stegall. “For many of us, this is a dream come true.”
After the ribbon was cut, Darlington Middle School’s first day began.
“As soon as we cut the ribbon, it’s all ours!” said Van Es.
Along with Darlington Middle School, Darlington Upper and Lower schools were also opening for their first day of the school year Monday.