The newly remodeled Ringgold High cafeteria filled up with invited guests Thursday morning, Sept. 22, for a “recognition breakfast.” Attendees were treated to breakfast, warm words of gratitude and two stirring slideshows of before-and-after photos and dedications to those persons and areas lost or changed forever in the April 27 tor-nado.
Catoosa County superintendent of schools Denia Reese opened the ceremony with a few words of inspiration af-ter a pledge and invocation.
“Sometimes, things are more beautiful than before, after suffering damage,” said Reese. “I think we’ve figured out that when we all work together, we can make anything happen.”
The event was a Partnership 2000 affair. Partnership 2000 is basically a “unified effort of schools, businesses, and the community to promote and support student success.”
Partnership coordinator, Buffy Hemphill recalled the hardship of the past year and praised the guests for their part in helping Partnership reach the aims and goals of the 2010-11 school year. Partnership goals are to inform the public of school activities, improve the mentoring programs, link all 17 schools together with better communication, and encourage and support the school faculty and staff by offering business discounts.
On a personal note, she also shared that her daughter had been a 2010 honors graduate and despite the ups and downs of the crisis, she truly appreciated their efforts in making the ceremony a success and memorable for their family.
Sara-Kate Steele and Kevin Moore, Ringgold high school teachers, provided entertainment with a rendition of “The Prayer” and principal Sharon Vaughn closed the ceremony.
“I believe in order to understand where we are today, we have to reflect on where we’ve been,” said Vaughn. “Even though the stumbling blocks were huge, we turned them into stepping stones, and even though there is still a hole in our hearts for those things we lost, homecoming is a time of celebration. I’m so grateful to all of you, but not because you’re business partners. You will forever be my heroes and angels.”