SME celebrates 25th anniversary

Rex Brown/Courtesy The Journal
A large crowd of community members was on hand in addition to school faculty, staff, students and other dignitaries at Six Mile Elementary School’s 25th anniversary celebration Monday morning.

By Greg Oliver

Courtesy The Journal


SIX MILE — Six Mile Elementary welcomed back former students, faculty and staff, as well as local elected officials, on Monday to mark the 25th anniversary of the school’s opening at its current North Main Street site. “Time flies when you’re having fun,” said principal Clif Alexander, who is in his 31st year at the school after starting as a teacher and eventually moving up to assistant principal prior to becoming principal. “I can’t believe it’s been 25 years. I’ve been blessed to be a part of these 25 years, and even five more.” Alexander said the Six Mile community has always had a school since Six Mile Academy opened in 1910. He said that “opened the doors of public education” for students. The current school moved to its fourth and current site in 1990, and Alexander said it enjoys a special relationship with the community. “We take pride in this community, we take pride in this school and we continue to teach the values of pride and responsibility,” he said. “It’s the people that make up this special place — Six Mile Elementary School is a community, and it takes a team.” Looking at the students seated with their teachers on the lawn for the ceremony held outside the school’s office, Alexander called them “superheroes who are going to be future leaders.” “We know you’re going to make the world a much, much better place in the years to come,” Alexander said. School District of Pickens County superintendent Danny Merck called Six Mile Elementary “a model school for public education.” Merck said students have achieved at a high level, evidenced on their school report cards each year, and thanked the school and its teachers for their role in student achievement — including teamwork and character development of students. “Six Mile Elementary School is one of the leading schools in Pickens County and the state for learning,” Merck said, adding, “Good job.” State Rep. Gary Clary, who represents the Clemson, Central, Norris and Six Mile areas, read a letter from Gov. Nikki Haley — who was unable to attend — praising the school for its milestone. Clary added he believes education “is the key to everything we do.” “I’m pleased to be part of a community that not only expects a quality education, but demands it,” Clary said. State Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens was a member of the State House of Representatives when Six Mile Elementary opened its current school 25 years ago. On Monday, Martin congratulated the educators who are part of the school’s past, present and even the future. “Education doesn’t just happen — it’s a building block,” Martin said. “Some of you will be here 25 years from now — either as adults or as teachers leading the next generation.” Martin also read a list of items stored in a time capsule that was buried at the school’s 1990 dedication and unearthed for the 25th anniversary ceremony. They included a tennis ball from the PE department, spiral notebook and pencil, Six Mile Elementary annual, school map and invitation to the first open house, as well as items of the day, including a New Kids on the Block button and book, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figurine, a “Just Say No” button, friendship bracelet and a children’s book titled “Frederick” by Leo Lionni. After the crowd in attendance sang “Happy Birthday,” 25 balloons were released into the air to conclude the celebration.