Murray County

March 18, 2014

‘Bagley Bash’ to highlight history

CHATSWORTH — Schools don’t traditionally have 25th anniversary celebrations.

But “Bagley is not like most schools,” said Tim Howard, who has taught at the middle school since it opened in 1989.

The school’s motto is “A special place for special people.”

“It is a special place,” said Daphne Winkler, a former student who is now the school’s assistant principal. “It’s not typical. Though most schools don’t celebrate 25 years, we have something to celebrate.”

The school will host the “Bagley Bash” to celebrate the 25 years on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. A short program is scheduled for 2:30 when Danny Harkleroad, the school’s first principal, will speak. Faculty members who have died will be remembered, and the Bagley Quartet will perform.

Bagley memorabilia, photos and yearbooks will be on display, as well as the letters Howard has written to the eighth-graders at the end of each school year. There will be 25 cakes. Each faculty member is choosing one to decorate, and it will represent one year in the school’s history. Some past yearbooks will be available for purchase.

Anyone associated with the school at any point in its history is invited.

When the school opened, officials wanted to make sure the school was special to the students by building school pride and school traditions.

“Bagley was the best three years of my life in school because I felt loved,” Winkler said. “We’re a family here. ... I can remember that as a student.”

Bagley Middle School started with no budget and almost no supplies. The school was housed in the former Murray County High School building. Office space was transformed into classrooms, and the week before school started there were still wires hanging from the ceiling and unfinished floors, leaving staff scrambling to prepare their rooms.

Teachers and faculty worked all weekend, and late into Sunday night trying to finish rooms before school started that Monday morning. They handed books in through windows the night before school started, said Rachel Adams, who has taught at the school since it opened.

In 1989, Howard had to teach from books published in 1971 — when he was a student.

“We created the bond,” he said. “It was not easy. This school started from nothing.”

 As teachers and faculty went through the first year, they started traditions. Someone said they needed a way to celebrate “good kids,” so the school started a Beta Club, Howard said. Someone said they needed something to celebrate the first year so they held an eighth-grade graduation. A song was written. An awards banquet for academic achievements began.

For many years the school hosted an Olympic Day, where each homeroom represented a different country and participated in “Olympic” competitions such as tug-of-war, races, softball games and more. Students and teachers competed side by side to win competitions and the most overall medals.

“We used to do things just because — just because it was fun,” Adams said.

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