RANCHO SANTA FE — The threat of showers pushed inside the dedication ceremony of the new R. Roger Rowe School. Still, the Performing Arts Center was filled to capacity Oct. 20 with community members who wanted to witness the event.
“I think it’s gorgeous,” said Kathy Stumm, former school board president. “We are grateful for the support of the community. It took us a long time to get this done.”
“My heart is full,” said Lindy Bowman, another former school board member. “Every time I pass this school I get goose bumps. It’s beautiful and the jewel of our community.”
After the presentation of colors by Boy Scout Troop 766, the national anthem was sung by Marti Ritto, accompanied on the piano by Patrick Ritto.
School Superintendent Lindy Delaney introduced and thanked the special guests at the event who have stood close at hand, not only during the construction of the new school, but all the time, including the Association, The Rancho Santa Fe Patrol, the community center, the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, the fire department and the garden club.
The student choir, Rancho Santa Fe Voices, sang “Seasons of Love,” from the musical “Rent,” at the ceremony. The singers were directed by their music teacher Maureen Blinn.
Next hard hats and shovels were awarded to the school board and others who moved along the construction. Norm Gilstrap, senior superintendent of the project, was given a special thank you, a hard hat and a shovel of his own.
“The community has set a high standard for us and we hope we can uphold that standard,” Delaney said. “We have a school board and former school boards that never gave up.”
School board President Scot Cheatham told the crowd that his family alone has marked 36 years in the Rancho Santa Fe School District because he has four children who all attended the school until high school.
He said four years ago, when the current school board took over, the community was “seriously divided,” on the issue of the construction of a new school.
“Two bonds had failed and I had serious doubts if we would ever build a school in Rancho Santa Fe,” Cheatham said.
Still, they moved the subject forward by having conversations with the community through town meetings and other venues.
“We argued. We debated. Actually, we argued a lot,” he said.
Finally the bond for most of the money to build the school passed by 71 percent.
“We are celebrating today an amazing feat,” Cheatham said.
Then it came time to honor Delaney with a shovel of her own and a huge bouquet of flowers.
“Lindy is like the mom who does everything and never gets credit,” Cheatham said.
The ceremonial ribbon was cut, bringing cheers and applause from the crowd.
The evening was capped by an open house and a performance by country singer Billy Dean in a benefit for the completion of the Performing Arts Center. Sponsored by the Community Concert group, the proceeds will be used to fund what the center still needs which are lights, sound, a curtain and seats.
“Every school needs a platform and every community needs a stage. I am honored to support that platform. You’ve got to have this,” Dean said, motioning to the stage.
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