Community reacts to new school, mascot

Published 9:24 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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On Tuesday, Langdale Auditorium was filled with community members, students and educators as the Chambers County School District revealed the chosen mascot, colors and initial renderings of the new consolidated Chambers County High School. 

Community members in attendance were excited about the future. 

Marquavian Billingsley and Catie Colley, Eastside J.P. Powell Magnet School teachers, said though it is bittersweet, they are excited about the new school mascot and colors. 

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“I love the new high school, and I’m so excited,” Colley said. “It just felt like home.”

“Forever a Bulldog, but it was nice,” Billingsley, a 2020 LaFayette High graduate, said about the new mascot.  

Superintendent Casey Chambley said he was pleased with the reception that the announcement received.

“I think everybody seems pleased,” Chambley said. “We’re just excited that we can finally move forward with this, and that our community can move forward with it.”

Many community members were excited to see the new renderings of the school even though it meant saying goodbye to their former or current high school. 

“Nobody wants to see [Valley close], and nobody wants LaFayette to not have a high school either,” said Jim Clark, Valley councilman.

Still, Clark said he thought the school district and Cooper Carry, the school board’s architecture firm, did a good job.

Others from the community came out to get answers about the new school’s budget and its facilities.

“I love at the end how he informed us that with us being in such low debt ratio that when we do get the school it doesn’t even bother our taxes when it comes to payments,” said Valley High mom Natasha Dowell, noting the cost had been one of her concerns.

Her oldest son, ninth grader, Quinton, will be part of the first graduating class. Both of her sons will get the chance to graduate from the new facility. Her younger son, Landon Dowell, said he hopes that the new school will have lockers that students can use. 

“The education and the technology that y’all are going to gain outweighs the locker,” said Cassandra Dozier, another Valley parent. 

Valley High School tenth grader Rush Nelson said even though he won’t be able to attend since he will be graduated, he looks forward to the school being in the community for new generations.

“I’m excited to eventually I’ll put my future children in the school,” he said. 

Valley business owner Allison Trimble is excited about the school district’s renderings except for one detail. 

“The school design is very unique. I think that it’s going to brighten not only the academic level of the students but the athletic as well,” Trimble said. “However, my only problem is the colors of the school … Where is the black or gold for LaFayette?”

Trimble said the light blue is reminiscent of the current Valley High School colors, and she thought they should’ve added a LaFayette color to create unity and represent both schools. 

“The DNA of both the schools needs to be in the high school,” she said. 

Mayor Leonard Riley was also in attendance for the unveiling. He said the city of Valley has already begun the construction work on the bypass and bought 7.5 acres of land from Valley Haven for the new school.

“​​I think it’s great because they did their homework, and they went about taking input from the community,” Riley said. “… This is what comes from all the community input, and this is what the community wanted.”

Chambers County High School is expected to open in fall of 2026.