With dozens of special guests and more than a thousand students looking on, Covington High School officially kicked off its Centennial Celebration Friday morning with a balloon release and the ringing of the bell from the original school building. The event was held in Jack Salter stadium, with former Coach Jack Salter one of the many dignitaries in attendance.
Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III congratulated the faculty and students on their Centennial Celebration. “We’re excited to share the special events that are coming all this next year,” he said. Covington High’s graduates have made many contributions over the years to, not only the local area, but to the nation and around the world, he said. “Our theme this year is Community Connections, and I cannot think of a high school that better exemplifies that theme,” Folse stated.
Several School Board members were also in attendance, including President Stephen J. “Jack” Loup, III, Michael Dirmann, and Elizabeth Heintz. Also present on the stage were Assistant Superintendents Cheryl Arabie, William “Bill” Brady, and Pete Jabbia. Other special guests included former supervisors Ralph Menetre and Dennis Sharp, and Sammy O’Keefe, Covington City Councilman.
Principal Deborah McCollum and Student Council President Jillian Carlos emceed the event, with the Marching Lions Band providing the music. The dance team and cheerleaders also took part, particularly in the construction and placement of a quarter-mile long paper chain, each link signed by a student at the school and decorated with positive statements. The chain symbolized the school’s unity and pledge to treat each other fairly.
Special guest Evelyn Talley, who graduated with the Class of 1940, told the students to take advantage of all their opportunities, do their best and appreciate the rich legacy of Covington High. “I loved school, and the band was an important part of my life,” she said. “I still have my trumpet.”
Her husband, the late Theodore “Red” Talley, was a School Board member for many years and took part in the planning of the current high school building.
Clara Marion of the Class of 1962 presented a Covington High School Lion print signed by the artist John Akers to Principal McCollum, and Mayor Mike Cooper’s Administrative Assistant Pam Keller delivered a special proclamation that named August 10th as Covington High School Centennial Year Kick-off Day.
At the beginning of the event the school’s original bell was rung ten times by officers of the Senior Class, each sounding representing one decade for the school. At the end of the ceremonies, one hundred balloons were released while the band played and the audience cheered.
A commemorative Bell Tower will be built next year, with the groundbreaking scheduled for April 19. The bell, rescued from the 1974 fire that destroyed the original Jefferson Avenue building, will be placed in the new Centennial Bell Tower which will be located on the front corner of the school’s campus on U.S. 190.
Over the next year, a number of activities will be held in connection with the Centennial. A play written by teacher Gary Mendoza features the history of Covington High. It will be presented in September.
The main Centennial events will be held in October, Ms. McCollum said. The school has put out a call to all alumni who wish to participate in many activities such as an Alumni band. The school’s website will have more information on the many opportunities to participate.
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