On Monday morning we departed from our hotel in Knoxville and arrived at Kate Duncan Smith DAR School about 3 hours later. KDS was founded in 1924 by DAR and is located on Gunter Mountain in Grant, Alabama. KDS has more than 1,400 students in Kindergarten-12th grade. Special emphasis is placed on responsible citizenship, academic achievement, horticultural and computer skills, consumer and life sciences, as preparation for college and vocational training.
Our arrival into Grant was spectacular! Our buses received a police escort to guide us to the KDS campus. The students of KDS lined the driveway greeting us with signs and flags as our two buses pulled up to the school. It was delightful to have such a warm welcome from these precious students. The marching band was playing and hugs abounded from these darling children. We were served lunch in the cafeteria and the JAC club of 4th graders presented a musical program of patriotic songs and the recitation of the Preamble to the Constitution. It warmed our hearts to see the patriotic pride of these students.
Our afternoon was spent touring the KDS campus, meeting with the children and visiting the classrooms. Every door was decorated with our administration themes of eagles, owls and peacocks. My first stop was to visit the October Glory Maple tree which Past Reporter General Jean Vaughan donated in memory of my mother five years ago. Later that afternoon it was a privilege to dedicate a tree in memory of Mary Jane Hensley, Honorary State Regent of Maryland and mother of Recording Secretary General Barbara Carpenter. Imagine our delight to realize both trees are adjacent to the playground and will provide shade and shelter to the youngest of the students!
The restrooms in the Gary W. Cox Primary Building were long overdue for renovations and the National Society was a major donor to this project through the Friends of DAR Schools Fund and the Junior Membership. It was a pleasure to participate in the dedication as we all have fond memories of Gary and her devotion to the students of KDS.
During our visit it was wonderful to see the improvements and advancements that have been made to the school and to participate in the dedication for the Science Lab which also was supported by the Friends of DAR Schools Fund and Junior Membership as well as many other donors.
We attended the Endowment Committee meeting as well as the Board meeting. The Alabama Daughters hosted a lovely reception for the members of the tour before a delicious dinner. Highlights of the evening included musical presentations by the String Band, show choirs, and a football pep rally. Historic quilts were auctioned to raise funds for the KDS marching band to perform in the Outback Bowl on January 1st.
It was a pleasure to spend a whole day at KDS learning about the progress these students are making and their gratitude for the support of DAR.
Following this special day we headed to our hotel to get some much needed rest where even more Alabama Daughters greeted us with treats and cookies.
Many of the members who are on the tour have been uploading some great photos and information about the tour to their social media sites. It is wonderful to see everyone getting involved! I hope you will visit the DAR Schools Tour Social Hub to follow along with the tour!