Plans underway to “celebrate Foley” with area schools in 2019

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 11/6/18

FOLEY – The new year will be here before we know it, and Foley High School’s Curriculum Leader Tyson Reed along with area principals, Chamber Education Foundation, and fellow school staff, have …

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Plans underway to “celebrate Foley” with area schools in 2019

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FOLEY – The new year will be here before we know it, and Foley High School’s Curriculum Leader Tyson Reed along with area principals, Chamber Education Foundation, and fellow school staff, have already begun brainstorming events for 2019. Reed recently went before the Foley council to share some ideas with them on involving the Foley feeder pattern schools with the community, and was well received. Though nothing is set in stone, not even the name of the event, Reed is certain of one thing: our students are prepared to learn more about the city’s heritage.

“Foley High School was the only school in the Baldwin County Board of Education to be dedicated as a bicentennial school, and we take great pride in that,” said Reed. “It has created an atmosphere at the high school that we have become much more Foley-centric. The kids are now taking a firm interest in who we as a city are, where we’ve come from, and where we want to go.”

Reed stated that during a meeting with Main Street, Alabama approximately a month ago, students were questioned on their thoughts of downtown: what they liked about it and what they’d like to see changed. Reed was impressed to hear the students answer that though they were for change, they wanted the look and feel of downtown to remain the same.

“They love our town, and the more we’re getting kids involved with the city of Foley and doing projects around town, the more they’re loving it,” Reed said.

Watching the students respond so fondly of their city brought about an idea to tie in the schools with the city. The Foley Civic Center and Heritage Park have been booked for April 27, 2019, with the plan to host a “Celebrate Foley Day” (tentative working title, no exacts have been confirmed.)

“On the 27th, we’re going to put all the projects that the schools are working on together on display at the Civic Center, so the community can come and see what the classes are doing,” said Foley High School teacher Ronna Sanford. These projects would relate to the renovation of the Hamburg Building and the history of Foley. Reed hopes to have prominent locals who grew up in Foley attend the event and give their testimony on the stage, while the Lion Pride News films the interviews.

“The more I thought about the Civic Center, the more I thought how we could expand that idea to go outside the walls and explore who we as Foley really are,” Reed said. “So this is one man’s vision, and nothing is a done deal yet, but this would be a collaboration between the schools, the chamber, and the city.”

Reed is looking to use Heritage Park to set up multiple events, all showing off the local schools, the students, and area history.

“We could have displays celebrating the history of Foley, while involving our students, so they have the opportunity to get to know the place that they live and become connected,” Reed said.

Reed’s plans include the school’s Agriculture Department setting up at the Hamburg Building, telling stories of Foley’s agriculture background. He hopes to have a student leading a walking tour from the park to the building, while also having a character actor from the Drama Department taking on the role of a farmer, sharing stories that have been passed down concerning the Hamburg Building. Around the building, the Foley Tractor Club has expressed interest in setting up a Tractor Show, and a local principal is also in talks about setting up an antique car show as well. The schools would partner with the Chamber’s Education Foundation to secure food trucks to be onsite during the event, while the gazebo would house the schools’ performing arts students and bands.

“Around the fountain we could have the Robotics Team set up and show off what they’ve been working on,” Reed said. “Because not only do we want to celebrate our history, but we also want to celebrate where we’re going. And we’re looking to use the train depot and have our students doing a tour there, again with some character actors talking about the importance of trains here in our community, and about how that revolutionized the way we do business.”

The final walking tour would be conducted by the high school’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), and would start at the Welcome Center and move to the Holmes Medical Museum. The students would be taught everything there is to know about the museum prior to the event, and character actors would be along on that tour as well, talking about Cobb’s Light and the first hospital in Baldwin.

“None of this is set in stone, but there’s a vision on where we want to take this,” Reed said. “I think it’s a creative way to involve all of our students, feeder pattern wide … We have a very rich heritage and culture here in the City of Foley, and we want to celebrate those things while also giving our kids the opportunity to learn more about who we are and where we come from. We hope to give them the vision to want to come back and help us move this city forward.”