The Old Davie High: More than a building

Published 8:43 am Thursday, June 29, 2017

By Julie Terry Cartner

Renegade Writers Guild

It’s just a building, they say.

But it’s not. It may be a building, but it’s so much more.

It’s the first students who stepped through the doors in the fall of 1956 with eyes gleaming with pride in their new school. It’s the students who painted murals on the walls; in C building the depiction of many of the activities and classes that occurred during the early years; in E building nature scenes, and of course in the gym a war eagle.

It’s the banners and trophies all over the school. It’s the concerns of students choosing their classes and the fun of students voting for homecoming queen and senior superlatives. It’s the thrill of new teachers starting their first jobs and writing their names on the board for the first time. It’s the bulletin boards painstakingly created by a myriad of personnel. It’s the graduates coming back to visit their favorite teachers and hangouts. It’s the bittersweet smiles of students as the leave campus for the final time on the last day of school in June of 2017.

It’s just mortar and blocks, they say.

But it’s not.

It’s laughter and tears, pride and discouragement, love and hate, work and fun. It’s all that and so much more. The halls echo the joy of students reuniting after long, busy summers, and they echo the grief of students when their classmates passed away during their tenure at Davie. They echo the shouts of joy over winning seasons, conference championships, state and world championships and victories against arch rivals. They echo the tears of defeat when each athlete thinks that he or she was the one who lost the game. They echo the gasps of relief when the grade was passing and the shrugs of discouragement when the grade was not. The halls reverberate with the drum beats and brass of the pep band marching down the halls before major games, the excitement of annual signing day, and the shout of “seniors” on graduation day.

It’s just concrete and paint, they say.

But it’s not.

It is bells ringing, thousands of feet walking or running to class, chairs scraping across floors, voices talking, teachers instructing and pens and pencils gliding across paper. It’s markers on white boards, smart boards, and projectors, calculators, and rulers. It’s beakers being filled and emptied, meter sticks measuring, guidance counselors helping, and history being taught through facts and literature. It’s the roar of engines, mortar going on bricks, skill saws and sandpaper. It’s JROTC marching, chickens clucking, paint being applied, and computer programs processing work.  It’s the conglomeration of music from band and chorus, and the slip-slide footsteps of dancers practicing their routines.

It’s just a building, they say.

But it’s not.

A school is a home for people, for students and teachers, administrators and office personnel, for guidance counselors and campus police, for teacher assistants, cafeteria workers, and custodians. Wherever these people join together, you have a school. The school is not the building; the school is the people.

But as the doors close for the last time at 1200 Salisbury Street, after the last graduates have walked into the stadium to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” after the teachers and administrators have recorded the last grades and packed the final boxes, after the guidance counselors have finished the last transcript and packed up millions of file folders, after the doors have closed for the last time, it’s okay to mourn the end of an era, but then remember that the school is the people and celebrate the excitement of starting a new page in the history of Davie County High School at 180 War Eagle Drive.