Dedicating A Building

Photos by Denise Brodeur

On Monday, November 9th Kimmel Farm Elementary was officially dedicated in a ceremony held at the school. It was an event carefully planned and executed. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Donald L. Martin Jr. Ed.D led much of the program, which was highlighted by student performances by our kindergartners, singing lyrics written by our own kindergarten teacher Shayne Madison, and a group of 5th graders who performed an instrumental piece directed by our music teacher, Robert York. Thanks also to WSFCS School Board Member Marilyn A. Parker for her dedicatory address.
We were honored to have the invocation delivered by Reverend James C. Newsome of nearby Friedberg Moravian Church. We were also honored have Dr. Stanford Hill of the Center for Excellence for Research, Teaching, and Learning, affirm our partnership and dedication to making Kimmel Farm Elementary a model school for Problem Based Learning.
We honored the previous land owners, LA and Jean Kimel Topping and Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Miller, who agreed to sell the land so our school and neighboring Flat Rock Middle could be born. The building was presented by Perry Peterson of Peterson/Gordon Architects, PA and that was that. Our building was dedicated - "officially" open for public use.
The ceremony itself was formality, but it left one important question unanswered. To what are we dedicated?
We know we're committed to problem based learning and using the technology we're so blessed to have in our building. But really, to what we are dedicated is still an open-ended question. The answer to what we are dedicated is yet to evolve, and the challenge therein is for us to decide as educators and students what we are going to become. It's an ongoing conversation we need to have, and an issue on which we should reflect often. Too many schools don't.
As we honored the previous land owners we stated we thought it important to record our history as it unfolds, but also to gather the history of the place prior to the school being built. We're named Kimmel Farm Elementary for a reason, and we want our students to get a sense of the history of our land to give them purpose, identity, and a sense of pride.
We plan to host a celebration at the completion of our first year and seal a time capsule with contents that have yet to be created by our students. It will be interesting to see what we choose to put inside that time capsule, and to determine when it will be reopened. Perhaps it's something we seal, open in 10 years, reflect, add new products, and reseal for opening 10 years from then. Whatever we decide to do we'll only be putting snapshot of what we are to be in that first time capsule. Only when it's opened will we have some answer to what we have been dedicated.
Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks once said, "Sometimes you have to create the thing you want to be part of." All we know is it's great to have that opportunity, and exciting to think of what we can become.