The DAR School Tour - Kate Duncan Smith DAR School

Written by: Nancy Folk, Alabama State Regent
October 11, 2016

When the DAR School Tour buses arrived at Kate Duncan Smith DAR School on Monday morning we were greeted by the entire student body of the school, as well as many Alabama Daughters lining the parking area and bearing signs!   After a program on the National Parks by the KDS JAC Club, the school held a special dedication ceremony for the newly rebuilt ball fields. KDS and the Alabama Society are very grateful to the Florida State Society for their sponsorship of the softball field renovation, and to the state societies of Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas; the Michigan Louisa St Clair chapter; the Junior Membership committee; and many Alabama Daughters and other donors for their contributions to the baseball field renovation.  An afternoon of activities, campus tours, classroom visits, committee meetings, and the KDS Board of Trustees meeting followed, where Mrs. Dillon and the School Tour participants were welcomed by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Peggy Johnson.

That evening we enjoyed a picnic dinner at nearby Crystal Caverns State Park. Those who toured the enormous cave were amazed by “Goliath”, one of the largest stalagmites in the world! After dinner, we were warmly greeted at our hotel by State Second Vice Regent Patrice Donnelly, Vice President General Connie Grund, past Reporter General Jean Vaughan, and other Alabama Daughters, who provided late night hospitality and an opportunity for the tour group to relax.

Today, DAR is celebrating the 126th anniversary of its founding! In honor of this date, DAR members across the country are participating in the National DAR Day of Service by volunteering in their local communities. For our National Day of Service project, School Tour participants brought biographies of important historical figures in their states to give to the KDS Library, signed a giant thank you card to be taken to a local veterans' home, and planted seeds to be grown by students in the greenhouse for future landscaping projects.  For their service activities the School Tour group wore their new navy polo shirts with the apple and arrow "Targeting Education" logo. These shirts can be worn during Community Classroom activities as well as DAR School activities. Keep an eye out for the shirts in the DAR Store. 

This morning, we will go back to KDS for Dedication Day, a tradition since the first year of the school.  Visiting state regents will dedicate the gifts provided by their state societies during the past year.  It is always very moving to realize how many of our state societies support the school and its children with major gifts.  After the ceremony, guests will make their way to the lunchroom for the famous “basket lunch”.  Parents and alumni join forces to provide delicious Southern home cooked specialties for over 300 guests.  The tour group will then gather for a final group photo before the buses depart for Berry College.

Fourteen hundred preK-12 students attend KDS, in Grant, Alabama, on top of Gunter Mountain. The school functions as a public Marshall County school, which is open to all students in the area. KDS owns the 240 acre campus, and it receives support from the NSDAR, the Alabama Society, and many state societies to meet the needs of the school and its students.  Efforts to build the school were initiated by Kate Duncan Smith, the second state regent of Alabama, and the school opened in 1924.  Through state regents’ projects and direct donations, Alabama Daughters have funded school building projects throughout the history of the school.  The Alabama Society’s annual budget includes funding to be used for the school’s utilities and maintenance for two faculty cottages.  Many Alabama Society chapters have adopted classrooms and provide items requested by the teachers and many Alabama Daughters individually contribute to various funds and projects at the school.  Each year at our August meeting, we collect school supplies for the children, and the Executive Director goes back to KDS with a van full of supplies.  The current State Regent’s Project is the sponsorship of weekly classes for all students in the middle school to explore topics such as robotics, programming, and web design.  The supplemental instruction gives students exposure to career opportunities in engineering and information technology fields.

KDS students appreciate all the opportunities available to them as a result of the love and support of DAR members throughout the country. The Alabama Society is also very appreciative of the support provided by NSDAR, the Junior Membership committee, and members everywhere.  

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Through restoring historic properties, funding scholarships and supporting our troops, DAR makes a difference in local communities.