By: Meredith Baker | Email: Click Here
Posted: May 2, 2018 | 2:00 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – Students, alumni, staff, and family members gathered Wednesday to celebrate Midway Elementary School’s National Blue Ribbon Award and the 100th anniversary of the first graduating class of Midway. The school was one of seven schools in the state and 342 in the nation to be named a 2017 Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education, a recognition that is based on the academic achievement of its students. Principal Penny Brooks spoke about how much has changed since the school began, but she also said that some things have remained the same.
“The community that had the vision and the foresight over a century ago to begin a grade school continues to possess the same goals, providing a strong education that values the student being the most important part of our work,” Brooks said. “What makes Midway so successful today? The same traditional beliefs that guided our past: that the leadership, the dedicated teachers, and the parents are what contribute to our students being so successful. All of that still holds true to this day.”
Midway Elementary’s current students display the National Blue Ribbon School flag during a special ceremony at the school last week. (Meredith Baker)
Brooks said that the school began with four teachers, and there were only five people in the first graduating class, but today the school has hundreds of students and a staff of over sixty.
“Our rich history and deep community roots make this school a special place to work and learn,” Brooks said.
Brooks also looked to the future and said that the staff at Midway today will continue to try to leave the school even better than they found it.
“A hundred years from now, when the twenty-second century learners are standing where we are now, we hope they will reflect on how Midway gave them the education of a lifetime,” Brooks said.
Current Midway students participated in the celebration by leading the Pledge of Allegiance, displaying the new Blue Ribbon flag that the school will be flying, reciting a poem about Midway, and singing the school song. Several students also shared why they think Midway is a Blue Ribbon School, focusing particularly on how their teachers help them to learn.
Alumnus Jimmy Williams of the Class of 1965 also shared some of his recollections about Midway. He is one of four generations to attend Midway, a school that has served students in all grades in the past. Williams also looked optimistically ahead to the future of the school.
Before a packed room of current students, parents, staff and alum, Dinwiddie Schools Superintendent Dr. Kari Weston delivers remarks during the school’s 100th anniversary and Blue Ribbon School celebration. (Meredith Baker)
“It will always be a place to train future generations to be good citizens and to be productive Americans, helping our country grow,” Williams said. Superintendent Dr. Kari Weston congratulated the school on its recognition and spoke about the school’s past, present, and future. She emphasized the way the community, the students, and the teachers are all a part of Midway’s success.
“There’s little to no turnover among our teachers,” Weston said. “This is probably one of the happiest staff that exists.”
Guests at the celebration were also offered tours of the school and were able to view a timeline of the school’s history that included record books and newspaper clips.