Two communities on opposite sides of Rock Hill gathered Sunday for dedications of Rock Hill School district's newest schools, Mount Holly Elementary School and Dutchman Creek Middle School.
Students and their families, district officials and school staff celebrated the new schools with student and staff performances.
Mount Holly art teacher Kim Ham created a time capsule filled with memorabilia by students during dedication. The capsule, shaped like the school's mascot, a Mustang, will be displayed in the main hall and will be opened by students in 2018, principal Chris Beard said.
Memorabilia included a roster of current students, teachers and staff, a school T-shirt, a school agenda, an album of ceremony attendees and a photo album of the school's construction.
"I think it is exciting to see the progress of building the school," said fourth-grader Nicholas Bolton as he placed the photo album into the mustang. "In 10 years, our students will love to see where our roots started growing," he said.
A handful of guests at Mount Holly Elementary were former students of the old Mount Holly School, which burned March 25, 1949. Betty Hoffman Simpson, 71, was a seventh grader when the former school burned.
Simpson still lives in the area and has two grandchildren who attend Mount Holly Elementary School and a daughter, daughter-in-law and niece that teach at the school.
"We were doubly excited about it being named Mount Holly," she said.
Across town, a crowd of older students and their families gathered for the dedication of Dutchman Creek Middle.
The dedication was marked with many student firsts, said principal Norris Williams.
The chorus sang the school song for its first public performance. For many of the orchestra performers, it was their first year playing.
Students spoke of their delight in being the first to experience what Dutchman Creek has to offer.
"I am the first student to wear 24 on my jersey at Dutchman Creek," said football player Vernon Addison.
"I am the first to win in a game at the great stadium. I am a proud Gator," said student Jacob Simpson.
Williams said he allowed students to choose most everything for the school, including its mascot colors and decor.
"This school belongs to them," he said. "It's all together now."
Rock Hill school district superintendent Lynn Moody was among school officials attending the ceremonies.
"A school is not just four walls and a roof. It is the students that bring life to it," she said.