A groundbreaking celebration was held Friday, Oct. 16, for the Riverside School District's new junior and senior high school building, on Highway 18 in Lake City.
(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
Twelve representatives took part in the groundbreaking ceremony, using golden shovels to turn over the first soil toward construction of the 93,000 square foot educational complex. These included Riverside Superintendent Tommy Knight, High School Principal Chad Jordan, Junior High School Principal Matt Scarbrough, Craighead County Judge Dale Haas, Board members Mike Hook, Mike Brickell, Mike Brown, Len B. Nall, Kenny Weathers, Riverside Student Council President Blaine McClung, Caraway Mayor Barry Riley and Lake City Mayor Billy Anderson.
"It has been raining for days and now, but the sun came out to shine as we gave our salute to the flag," said Superintendent Knight. "This is a stirring moment. In 1985 Caraway and Lake City school districts joined together to form Riverside. Now we join together again to build this new junior and senior high school. We are moving forward as a district. We owe our thanks to past and present school board members, leaders of our cities, and residents of the district."
Knight recognized the fifth grade students, who would be the first ones to go through grades 7-12 in the new building. He also recognized the 10th grade class, who would be the first to graduate from the new building.
The Riverside High School Band played the Star Spangled Banner following the pledge of allegiance.
Student Council President Blain McClung gave the celebration address.
"We used to be the home of the Catfish and Tigers, now we are all Riverside Rebels," McClung said. "Even though I won't get to use the new school, I will still be a part of the new school. With the new school comes new technology. Make us proud, Rebels."
"This is a big day for the Eastern District," said Judge Haas. "We have come a long way. Caraway used to have 72 stores and 11 barbershops. Downtown Lake City used to be so full that people couldn't drive downtown. It is just a fact of life that our towns have changed. We are no longer the retail center or commercial center for Craighead County, as that is Jonesboro now. However, Jonesboro is just five and a half miles away. It is one of the finest industrial centers in the state. That puts us in a great position for growth and prosperity ourselves. When new people come into this area they want to put their children in a nice progressive school...and we will have that."
Haas presented Superintendent Knight with a framed pledge, which encouraged him to keep the pledge, "Make this a successful project for our cities and communities."
Riverside elementary students released maroon and grey helium filled balloons at the close of the program. The balloons soon painted the southward sky with the school colors, and gave notice that something monumental was happening this day at Riverside High School, as they move onward and upward.