Rave Reviews: Auditorium impresses audience

Published 3:31 am Tuesday, May 28, 2019

There was only standing room in the newly-renovated Andalusia High School auditorium Friday night, and several alumni and parents agreed that the facility is a work of art.

AHS’s commencement exercises were the first public event in the new facility.

Former AHS teacher John Beasley has played the piano for several commencement ceremonies, but this year, he said he was slightly distracted by the extravagance of the new building.

“I almost couldn’t play today just by looking around,” Beasley said. “I honestly just thought about that, it is my first time playing in the new auditorium, I am very excited and amazed to be playing tonight.”

Paula Sue Dubelt, the former choral director at AHS, has wanted the high school to have a new auditorium for a long time and now is amazed at the new structure.  She also is a member of the Public Building Authority, which raised private money for the improvements.

“I am on the committee that first started the work for this,” Duebelt said. “I think it is just glorious, I just didn’t think it would ever happen. The first time that I came in and they turned the sound on for me, I got chill bumps. I think this auditorium is as classy as Andalusia. I think it fits the class that our mayor is trying to evoke in our city and I think to Andalusia’s credit, we will support two theatres, which I have said that forever.”

Andalusia City Board of Education member David McCalman said that the building shows how dedicated the citizens of Andalusia are to their city.

“There are a lot of people that worked hard on this building,” McCalman said. “Not to mention the amount of money raised for it. I am excited for the people of Andalusia to see the inside of it tonight and see all of the hard work people put into it. This commencement ceremony is a wonderful day for the Andalusia City School system and the City of Andalusia.”

AHS alumnus and West Point student Chandler Jones was at the graduation Friday night in support of his brother, J.W. Jones.

“It feels a lot different being in here tonight,” Jones said. “It is a lot brighter and definitely looks a lot better in here. I just took a little time to look at the football stadium as well and now that this is finished everything is just awesome. They have done a lot of really good work at AHS.”

Steffanie Cook, a 2013 graduate of AHS, was at graduation Friday night to watch her little brother Grayson French graduate.

“It is completely different,” Cook said. “I remember being in here in high school and thinking that it needed a little tune up, but they went above and beyond. I’m honestly a little jealous of Grayson, because he gets to graduate in a new auditorium.”

Cook’s mother, Gina French, has reared three children that have graduated from AHS.

“My two girls graduated in the old auditorium, and Grayson is the only one that will graduate from the new one,” French said. “I am proud that my son is a part of the first graduating class in the new auditorium. To me, it looks so much bigger and brighter. I think they did a great job.”