School’s softball diamond a girl’s best friend

Published 12:06 am Thursday, November 13, 2008

Students took their first lap around the asphalt track of the W.S. Harlan Elementary School Jimmy Carnley Softball Field during a dedication ceremony Wednesday morning in Florala.

“This day is a very special honor for me,” Carnley said. “I would not think something like this would have happened in my lifetime. W.S. Harlan presented me with a high honor by naming this complex after me. I would like to especially thank W.S. Harlan parents for all they have done for the school. Anytime I have needed help they were there to lend a hand.”

The athletic complex, valued at approximately $52,000, was made possible through a variety of sources. Carnley, who is a physical education teacher at WSH, held an intramural basketball program that helped to raise approximately $3,400, which was later used to create the backstop for the facility. The Solon and Martha Dixon Foundation contributed $10,000 that was used to complete the asphalt walking and running trail inside the complex. Covington County Schools superintendent Sharon Dye secured $3,500 from the county board of education for the installation of 350 feet of fence along Rapp Street in Lockhart.

“This is a wonderful school that has enjoyed great success,” Dye said. “W.S. Harlan has earned the highest achievement scores for its area several times and has been awarded money for those achievements. It speaks well for the faculty and staff of this great school. Advancements like this facility show that they care for the children and are willing to work hard to provide them with the very best.”

Through the joint efforts of House Speaker Seth Hammett and State Sen. Jimmy Holley, $11,700 was awarded to the Covington County School system for use in the development of the complex. The money provided for the installation of a four-foot chain link fence to complete the enclosure of the complex and provide additional safety for WSH students. The grant was also used to complete work for the inclusion of dugouts, bleachers and signage.

“This is not about us,” Hammett said. “This is about all of you kids. This facility will be a nice place for all of you to come and play. Education is of the utmost importance and WSH has gone to great lengths to support the education of its students. That is also true for physical education and active participation in sports.”

The field previously was exposed to two main streets in Lockhart, but the current enclosed complex now prevents children from having to worry about any dangers associated with the public roadways.