Note: These posts are cross-posted from another blog where I am blogging daily about the NSDAR 2010 Schools Tour. I was slow to realize that non-KSDAR folks might be interested to learn more about my trip, or the DAR, so I am cross-posting here, too. Read the previous posts in chronological order here, here, here, here, and here.
Day Five, October 13, 2010: Kate Duncan Smith DAR School, Grant, AL
Our day at Kate Duncan Smith DAR School started early and ended late, so I am afraid that this post is late in getting written. I did outline my thoughts last night, but saved the typing for Thursday morning as we drive to Rome, GA!
The day started with an almost parade-like atmosphere as our two tour busses left the hotel in Guntersville with a line of cars behind us and a police escort! Along the way we picked up the Illinois and Indiana busses from their hotel, and at one point, we came across another tour bus that looked as though it had been pulled over to wait for us! The ballet of tour busses on a two lane road with several local police, county sheriff, and we think even a state police car was rather comical! By the time we reached Grant, where KDS is located, there were six tour busses, countless cars, and numerous police officers all parading through the main street of town and onto the KDS campus. The banks and other businesses with marquees all had signs welcoming the DAR, and as we entered the campus, we were greeted by the high school band and all of the nearly 1,300 students waving flags and signs! While I had heard about KDS Dedication day, I was not prepared for the reception. This community truly has the DAR Spirit!
We spent about half an hour greeting the students, and then moved into the high school gym for the Dedication Day program. More than 300 DAR’s were seated on the floor, and the bleachers were filled with the students from Kindergarten through Twelfth grade. Older students served as pages and aides lining the center aisle, and other students carried in flags during the processional. The elementary students sang two songs for us (including “DAR, Oh How We Love You” which the high school Senior sitting next to me still remembered the words to, even though it has been eight years since she sang it at Dedication Day!), and our President General gave an inspiring talk about S.O.A.R.ing with Education.
After the Dedication Day ceremony, we moved on to the cafeteria for the famous KDS Basket Lunch, where members of the community brought in a huge amount of food to supplement the entrée baked by the school. Then we were turned loose to tour the campus, visit classrooms, and shop at the craft show. As you travel into Guntersville, and then on up to Grant, you don’t really realize that you are in the mountains, but the scenic overlook from the campus quickly reminds you the KDS truly is the Gem of Gunter Mountain.
We ended the day with a wonderful dinner, made most entertaining by the President General’s challenge to raise $3,500 by the end of the evening to tile the entrance to the Seimes Thompson Building. Thanks to a rousing round of bidding to don a skirt (I wish I had pictures to share!), as well as generous tipping of our celebrity waiters (school faculty and students), we raised more than $4,500! The evening ended with music provided by the high school choir, choral ensemble, and FFA String Band—a wonderful way to end a wonderful day. While I am learning that every school we support is different, I think that KDS, and by extension, the DAR, ranks at the top for integration in the community!
Title: America the Beautiful