T.A. Dugger celebrates 75 years of service with ceremony, luncheon

Published 9:24 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

Star Photo/Curtis Carden                           T.A. Dugger Prinicipal Randy Little spoke during Wednesday's event that signified the school's 75th year of operation.

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
T.A. Dugger Prinicipal Randy Little spoke during Wednesday’s event that signified the school’s 75th year of operation.

A time for reflection. A time for remembrance. A time for looking ahead.
T.A. Dugger Middle School was bustling Wednesday morning with a special ceremony taking place to recognize the school’s 75th anniversary of operation. Former and current faculty and staff joined together to celebrate the impact the school has made over the years, and what’s ahead for the future. Local songstress Loretta Bowers serenaded the crowd during the event before they descended further into the school for a luncheon and tour of the facility.
To open the event, attendees were greeted with a special powerpoint presentation inside school’s auditorium created by Mrs. Robin McKamey and students. The individuals recognized for the project included Cassidy Estep, Amelia Pierce, Makayla Burleson, Brooke Smith, Kadence Presnell, Alyson Deloach, Carly Walters, Madisun Pritchard, TJ Little, Mrs. Susan Carter and Mr. John Oakley.
The presentation showcased the 75 years of history through pictures and music. Laughter was heard during certain slides as past attendees had a chance to see their school year’s revealed.
TAD was originally called “City Junior High” and located on Doe Avenue. The school’s first junior high principal on record was W.K. Main. Main served in the post from 1924 to 1925.
Elizabethton High School was first moved to TAD’s current location in August 1941 after an influx of students were reported following the announcement of American Bemberg and American Glanzstoff Corporation location their operations to Elizabethton.
Following the dedicated service of Mr. T.A. Dugger, Jr., then city superintendent of schools, the principal at the time, John Large, presented a presentation to the Board of Education, as the faculty’s wish, to rename the school T.A. Dugger. The name was adopted in 1960.
EHS moved from the current TAD location in 1975. At that time TAD moved from their Doe Avenue location to West E Street.
TAD Principal Randy Little addressed attendees before the start of the presentation and explained the auditorium was able to receive renovations – refinished floors, raised chandeliers and new curtains – thanks to funding provided by the school’s bean supper. Little also added he appreciated the donation of speakers from Highlands Fellowship, which has an extension church at TAD.
Roberta Naholowaa, TAD reading and language arts teacher Roberta Naholowaa recalled the changes, and common themes, of the school during the ceremony. The teacher has been with the school for 26 years.
“The biggest change is that 70 percent of the staff are new, but it has been great to see so many old faces,” she said during the event. “The main thing that has not changed and why people stay at T.A. Dugger is that teachers at this school and in our system in general have autonomy unlike anywhere else.
“Administrators trust us implicitly to do our jobs in the classrooms and to use our own creativity in the classroom,” she continued. “ That’s the great thing that never changes … we’re trusted to do our jobs and it is the best thing about T.A. Dugger. That’s why teachers come here. They can have an idea and implement it.”
Teachers, like Naholowaa, are what makes the job worthwhile, Little added.
“Seeing the impact teachers made on students at TAD when I was a teacher at the high school made me realize what an important time this is for kids who are learning and growing, he added.
TAD has also seen an influx of students, Little added. Since arriving as principal, he noted that the number of students has increased from 451 to 588.
Taking necessary steps to address the student population, including converting the football dressing room into a classroom, Little added during the presentation he hopes the school will be able to see expansions in the future, including new science classrooms.

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