ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Central Baldwin Middle School celebrated its 25th anniversary with a program held Wednesday, Oct. 9 in the school’s gym.
The hour-long program included a history of the school, presented by students whose parents were students when the school opened in 1994, Eli Lores, Chloe Hopper, Presley Ann Brown, Karsyn Bodle and Eli Lynn.
There was also a slide presentation with photos of the school, students and faculty through the years.
Also recognized were staff members who were former CBMS students, Eliot Stanton, Jessica Richmond Randa Smith, Landis Bryant, Haley Clark, Matt Miller and Bryant Ramey, who serves as an assistant band director at Robertsdale High School; and staff who have served the school for all of its 25-year history, Julie Fincher, Theresa Schreck, Lee Wilson and Roy Williams, who was unable to attend Wednesday’s ceremony.
Schreck also brought back the Smurf Awards, which were held for a number of years to honor the school’s best athletes, presenting awards to all of the school’s former principals, including Ronnie Green, the school’s first principal, who said he started the awards when he was principal at Silverhill School.
“The day before this school opened, I walked the halls with then-superintendent Larry Newton,” said Green, who served as principal from its opening in 1994 until 2004. “The only thing he said to me was that he thought the school was clean, and that became a source of pride for us in all my years here. I’m glad to say that in walking around today, I can say that the school is still clean and continues to produce some of the best students and faculty around. Good principals alone don’t make good schools. Good schools are made with excellent faculty, staff and students, and in all of those areas, Central Baldwin has the best.”
Three of the school’s five former principals were in attendance for the ceremony. Along with Green, Mike Dawkins, who served as a teacher, administrator and coach for Loxley and Central Baldwin Middle before serving as interim principal from 2005-06; and Chuck Anderson, who served as principal from 2010-15, also spoke.
“I served 40 years in this school system, 17 at Loxley, two at Daphne Middle and the rest here at Central Baldwin,” he said. “I left this area for a couple years and couldn’t wait to come back. This is the greatest middle school in the state of Alabama. I love all the staff and the students and as an interim principal, I felt like my job was to make things as easy as possible. I hope I did that. I know all the faculty here did that for me.”
Possibly the biggest applause came in the introduction of Anderson, who served as head football coach/athletic director and an assistant principal for Robertsdale High School, then as Baldwin County’s athletic director before serving the last five years of his career as principal at CBMS.
“These were without a doubt the best five years of my career,” said Anderson, who during his tenure was affectionately known as “Papa Bear.” “I never worked a day in the five years I spent here, because if you love what you do, who you work with and who you work for, it’s not work. I challenge all of the students here to take advantage of the opportunity you have to get a quality education.”
Former principals Keith McClammy who, along with Dawkins, also served as an assistant principal when the school first opened, and Mike Vivar, who served from 2006-10, were unable to attend the ceremony.
Baldwin County School Board member Tony Myrick, who served as a teacher and coach at CBMS, and School Superintendent Eddie Tyler, who was a teacher and coach at Robertsdale High School, also spoke during the ceremony, along with current Principal Phillip Fountain.
“I was a senior (at Robertsdale High School) when this school opened,” Fountain said. “My youngest sister was in seventh grade and went through here. We are here today to celebrate our past, but I want to challenge you students to look toward our future. Where will you be in 25 years? The future is what you make it.”
Wednesday afternoon, with the help of the Baldwin County Highway Department, students and faculty gathered on the front lawn at CBMS, forming a giant “25” in honor of the anniversary.