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New school welcomed as investment in students; Bamberg District 2 holds ribbon-cutting for pre-K-12 facility
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New school welcomed as investment in students; Bamberg District 2 holds ribbon-cutting for pre-K-12 facility

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DENMARK – The Denmark community gathered Sunday afternoon for the ribbon-cutting and official opening ceremony for the new Bamberg School District 2 pre-K-12 school.

“My heart feels so heavy today because I’ve never experienced anything like this. I want you all to know that it’s for the kids,” said Beverly Bonaparte, chair of the Bamberg School District 2 Board of Trustees.

The facility combines three schools into one building. A new pre-K-8 school was constructed, and the high school was renovated.

The new facility covers 39 acres of land and includes:

• A new, 1,500-seat football stadium

• A new track and field

• A new maintenance building

• A new gymnasium

• A new cafeteria

• A new nursing station

• New furniture

• A learning station

• Two bus loops

“What is very obvious here today is the high level of commitment and pride in your work and the continued recognition of the importance of providing education opportunities for our youth,” Denmark Mayor Gerald Wright said.

“If you look at the history of our graduates from Denmark-Olar, whether its spread wide and far, we have a tremendous record and this is an example of what it takes to keep that record going,” Wright said.

Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Bamberg, praised those who were involved in the $38 million project.

“To the parents, what you see here is the definition of sacrifice,” Bamberg said.

Bamberg described the facility as an investment in the youth.

“In life there are costs, and then there are investments. What you see here today is an investment in the youth of this county, the future of this county, and in all of the students that will matriculate through the halls,” Bamberg said.

In addressing the students in attendance, Bamberg said, “I want you to always remember that knowledge is the new money, and I encourage you to get you some.”

Bamberg also encouraged the students to take advantage of the opportunities that have been provided to them through the hard work of others.

Bamberg School District 2 Superintendent Dr. Thelma Sojourner said a lot of helping hands were beneficial to the project

“It has been a very uphill battle. It has been done with the help of a lot of people who helped to make this possible for us. With the help of them, and the help of USDA, they are the persons that made it possible,” Sojourner said.

“We started with this dream back in 2013, and it took us until 2017 to get started on the project. And from 2017 until now we have been working. First, we had a setback, and we had to wait about a year to move further with our project. But, because we persevered and we were tenacious in spirit, we continued,” Sojourner said.

Sojourner said the new facility will have a great impact on the community.

“It’s so important for this community because you have to understand that we built the high school back in 1996. A $5 million building that was the best that we could do at that time. It was kind of state of the art for that time, but from ’96 until now we have not had any new construction.

“We were also in buildings that were built in 1954 and 1957, from those years to have been in a building where there was poor technology capabilities, where the reception was very poor. We have struggled through that process to where we are now,” Sojourner said.

Sojourner said the students in the district will now have access to more opportunities.

“This is so important for our children because as they go forward, we’re moving into a state of the art building where technology will not be a problem for our children,” Sojourner said.

Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-596-6530

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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