A big ‘thank you!’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Judge Trippy McGuire, a member of the Dixon Foundation, gfaces Superintendent Ted Watson in a football stance. Said one observer, “My money’s on Ted.”

Judge Trippy McGuire, a member of the Dixon Foundation, gfaces Superintendent Ted Watson in a football stance. Said one observer, “My money’s on Ted.”

The prospect of lining up in a football stance against “Coach Watson” – as Andalusia City Schools superintendent Ted Watson is affectionately known – might make most people feel more threatened than appreciated. But it was all part of the fun Tuesday as the school system and Andalusia High School said “thank you” to the Solon and Martha Dixon Foundation in a big way.

Foundation board members toured the high school to see how some of their $459,795 in contributions has been spent since 1999, and to heard first-hand what those contributions have meant to students and faculty members.

“It is because of you that the Andalusia City Schools remains a student-centered, world-class school system that inspires, enables, and empowers every student to meet high academic standards, demonstrate responsible citizenship, and develop skills to lead ethical, productive lives in a dynamic, global society,” Gary Odom told board members while visiting a state-of-the-art computer lab with 30 client workstations and work-group printing. “Technology has taken on a key role in supporting the educational process for both instruction and administration.”

The Foundation also contributed to the newly-installed Cisco wired/wireless campus wide network, Odom said.

In the bandroom, board members listened in on practice.

“We have 145 kids in the marching and concert bands,” director Bennie Shellhouse said. “What you guys have done for us is tremendous and we appreciate it.”

Most recently, the Foundation funded the purchases of new tubas, French horns and trombones, he said.

AHS senior Daniel Henderson guided the group through the physical education and football facility, which includes a weight room, indoor practice facility, locker room and laundry facility, as well as coaches’ offices.

“This is the first year we’ve been able to lift weights without having rust on our hands,” Henderson, who plays baseball and football, said. “It is awesome, and we are blessed to have an opportunity like this.

Watson told Foundation members that while they might not have contributed directly to this project, their help in other areas facilitated it.

“It is the most used facility on our campus,” he said. “The band, spring sports, and football practice in here, and we have P.E. classes.”

In the auditorium, where the Foundation recently funded new lighting, the student body assembled to hear classmates describe the contributions. Charlie Brock, Sydney Brunson, Darius Davis, Daniel Henderson Michael McCalman and Ali Yant talked about the new computer lab, improved baseball facilities, and auditorium lighting.

“This is our way of letting you know you certainly have touched not a few, but every life at AHS,” Watson said. “Students, this is an important life lesson. When people do things for you, say think you. When they do big things for you, say thank you in a big way.”

Board members were presented a plaque and served forestry-themed refreshments.