Allen Frear Elementary school students and staff celebrated the re-dedication of their newly renovated school with Caesar Rodney School District and state officials Thursday afternoon in the cafeteria.
More than 500 students and staff then gathered in front of the school beneath a sunny sky for a massive ribbon cutting after an hour of remarks, presentations and the Frear rap song. The ribbon cutting started near the front door at the cue of teachers … and proceeded in a clockwise fashion until the circle was complete.
Then, students and staff held their ribbons in the air and cheered.
Frear Principal Tara Faircloth said words could not describe the looks on students' faces when they saw their brand new school on the first day of school on Aug. 22.
Frear students Emerson Manning, John Devonish and Mia Ritchey then introduced Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, Caesar Rodney Board of Education President Kathleen Haynes and Caesar Rodney Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, respectively.
On behalf of the school board, Haynes thanked the Caesar Rodney community for supporting the capital construction referendum five years ago. That referendum provided funding for Frear's $15.4 million as well as funding for three other schools.
Fitzgerald reiterated that gratitude.
"Did you know that in this building the only thing left is the floor that you walk on? Everything else in this building is brand new," Fitzgerald said. "That's because our community wanted you to go to a school in the best possible environment, one that excites, encourages and makes learning each and every day fun."
"This school was first opened in 1963. That's almost 50 years ago. That was before iPhones. That was before Harry Potter," he said, drawing some gasps from students. "They didn't even have color TV."
He went on to say that J. Allen Frear Jr., for which the school was named, was a graduate of Caesar Rodney High School just like Frear students would be. He was also a farmer, a U.S. Army soldier in World War II and a U.S. senator, among other things.
Fred Frear, the son of Allen Frear Jr., was on hand for the rededication and was presented with a picture of the newly renovated Frear Elementary by Faircloth, Assistant Principal Freeman Williams and Manning, Devonish and Ritchey.
The Caesar Rodney High School Air Force Junior ROTC began the ceremony with the presentation of the colors, and Frear students Tajah Hines and Emerson led everyone in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and a rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."