The announcement was made by Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday at the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), where Governor Ivey was joined by superintendents, principals, and teachers from the selected schools, along with legislators and other dignitaries from across the state. Each school also received a $5,000 Governor’s Award grant to support its continued commitment to student-led community engagement.
Launched by Governor Ivey in December 2017, the Alabama Bicentennial Schools Initiative encouraged all public, private, and homeschool students and teachers to participate in the celebration of Alabama’s 200th anniversary of statehood. In early 2018, all Alabama schools were invited to submit proposals for community service and engagement projects connecting classrooms with their local communities. In August 2018, 200 schools were selected as official Alabama Bicentennial Schools and received $2,000 grants to support the implementation of their projects.
Over the last year, Bicentennial Schools in every corner of the state developed projects that made meaningful contributions to their local communities. Ranging from oral history projects to community gardens to mentorship programs, these projects fostered new relationships between schools, students, and local citizens that will extend well beyond Alabama’s bicentennial celebration.
Cedar Bluff School’s project was a community service project entitled Connect CB, we sat down with Cedar Bluff School Library Media Specialist and Boy’s Cross Country Coach Laura Brown to talk about the project.
Through Connect CB, seven to eight community volunteers visited the school once a month and met with approximately 15 students. Students engaged in activities such as cooking Thanksgiving Dinner, making blankets for the local Rehab Center, the group even adopted a family through the Nettie King Brown Clearing House.
The project allowed for the students to learn invaluable skills and develop relationships with members of the community.
Family & Consumer Science Instructor Kelsey Higgins says they look forward to continuing the project for years to come.
Alabama’s 200 Bicentennial Schools submitted their final reports in August 2019. Community leaders from across the state served on committees tasked with evaluating each project and selecting twenty-one schools, three from each congressional district, to receive the additional designation of Alabama Bicentennial School of Excellence. In addition to receiving the Governor’s Award grants, the Schools of Excellence will be invited to participate in commemoration ceremonies in Montgomery on December 14, 2019, the culmination of Alabama’s bicentennial.
The Alabama Bicentennial Schools Initiative is presented in partnership by Alabama 200, the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), and the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).