Local News

March 23, 2014

Bagley a special place 25 years later

CHATSWORTH — When Danny Harkleroad found out he was going to be the first principal of Bagley Middle School, he knew he wanted to do things differently.

“I had a lot of dreams on how we’d make Bagley the best it could be,” Harkleroad said on Sunday at the Bagley Bash to celebrate the school’s 25th anniversary. “How could we reach every kid and make them feel special?”

From that moment, Harkleroad made Bagley’s motto “A special place for special people.”

The students and faculty knew it was special. Several hundred former students and faculty turned out to celebrate the school, to reminisce about memories made there, to reconnect and possibly to laugh at a few awkward middle school photos.

“Some of my best memories were made at this school,” said Andrew Bowen, who attended Bagley in the mid-1990s.

On the last day of the annual eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C., Bowen got a nosebleed.

“Tim Howard and Paula Davis (teachers at the school) took time out to care for me,” he said. “It was not the exception. They took care of kids.”

Bowen, now a math teacher at the STEM Academy in Murray County and pastor of Smyrna Baptist Church, says he was given experiences through the school he would not have had otherwise. Being in band is what launched a love of music for him, and he was able to participate in the Page Program at the state Capitol.

“I’m afraid kids now don’t get to do those things,” Bowen said.

Bagley Middle School was created in 1989 when Murray County High School moved to a new campus. Bagley opened in the old campus on Green Road.

Teachers started school that year with no funds budgeted for the school, no tile in the hallways, no doors on the classrooms and old textbooks. The exterior doors to the school didn’t even lock.

“The building was filthy,” Harkleroad said. “We didn’t care. We knew it was going to be a special place. We became a family. We were stuck with nothing. We didn’t get new stuff. It didn’t matter. We knew we would make a difference. ... We let them know they were special. We knew which kids needed a hug and who needed a pat on the back.”

Tim Howard, who has taught at the school since it opened, said the staff and faculty really pulled together.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but a personal loan from Dr. Harkleroad started this school,” Howard said. “The staff and faculty worked 16-, 17- and 18-hour days the weekend before school started to be ready.”

Original faculty member Melissa Adams was one of the few people who could leave Harkleroad speechless, Howard said. It had been a “tough opening” and one day she broke down and snapped at Harkleroad some things including “I have no door and not even a pencil sharpener,” Howard said.

“Dr. Harkleroad said ‘I’ll get you a pencil sharpener,’” he said.

“And he did,” Adams said from the crowd.

The faculty and students survived that first year and were closer because of what they had been through, Howard said.

“We created that special place,” he said. “We established traditions. ... People are still growing and learning at Bagley. Times change. Values remain.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014

  • Beaulieu to close operations for one week for inventory

    Floorcovering giant Beaulieu of America will conduct a physical inventory of its buildings and facilities next week, with only salaried employees reporting for work.

    July 30, 2014

  • Green spot closing 1 mlh.jpg A part of the family

    Larry Green can’t remember the exact date. But he says it was about 54 years ago when his father Marvin took him to see the new store he and his brother Herman had commissioned Red Jennings to build at 309 W. Emery St. in Dalton.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • New high school?

    The only means for “staying small” and preserving “The Dalton Way” in Dalton Public Schools may be through expansion, Superintendent Jim Hawkins said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Bond denied for man arrested in synthetic marijuana bust

    A Dalton business owner charged in a synthetic marijuana bust was denied bond Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014