Ribbon cut on new Banks School

Published 7:26 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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Dreams do come true.

At 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 24, 2022, for the first time, Banks School sheltered all of its students, grades K-4 – 8 at one location.

The dream was a long time coming and the realization of the dream was met with smiles, applause and misty eyes.

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Dr. Mark Bazzell, superintendent of Pike County Schools, said the idea to merge the two schools had been out there for more than 20 years.

“It had been in our Capital Plan since the mid-2000’s,” Bazzell said. “We had to figure out how to finance it. That came to be about five years ago.”

But, the long wait was over.

And, the sun was shining brightly as Bazzell welcomed the gathering of board members, teachers, local elected officials and community leaders to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new building that includes office, classrooms, a STEM classroom, music room and state-of-the-art library.

He expressed appreciation to those who caught onto the dream of a new Banks School that would offer the best and greatest learning opportunities for all its students today and into the many tomorrows.

Bazzell especially thanked his board members, Rev. Earnest Green, Dr. Greg Price, Justin Davis, Linda Steed, Dr. Clint Foster and Chris Wilkes for their commitment to and support of the Banks School project, the school faculty, parents and the Banks community.

On behalf of the Pike County Board of Education, Board Vice President Steed thanked Bazzell for his continuous and best interest in the Pike County Schools and his dedication to and support of the students, faculties and all personnel of Pike County Schools

Bazzell’s association with Banks School goes back to 1987,

He was on the football field at Pike County High School when, Pike County Schools Superintendent John Key sent for him.

“Dr.  Key asked if I was certified in administration,” Bazzell said. “I was, so Dr. Key said I was going to be the principal at Banks School.”

At Banks School, Bazzell said he realized what the school meant to the students, the parents, the faculty and to the community.

“Banks School has always provided outstanding educational opportunities for its students,” Bazzell said. “Today, all Banks School students are at one location and we have an educational facility that will provide educational opportunities today and for many years to come. This is an exciting day for our students, the faculty, the community and the entire school system.”

Shantel Rouse, principal at Banks School, said the new facility and the technology available to the students provide many opportunities for growth at Banks.

“We are proud that, in ninth grade, our students will advance to Pike County High School where there are boundless opportunities in the classroom and beyond,” Rouse said.

Both Mayor Lisa Culpepper, Banks, and Mayor Isabell Boyd, Brundidge, agreed that outstanding schools foster both pride and growth in communities.

“Today is an exciting day for Banks,” Culpepper said. “Banks School will continue to provide outstanding educational opportunities for our children and opportunities within Banks – our town.”