Students, teachers, parents and administrators in the Waynesville School District gathered for a special ceremony to celebrate the new Sixth Grade Center, dedicating it to the future students of the expanding district.

The Sixth Grade Center is simply a “win-win” for the school district, according to Lori Laughlin, president of the Waynesville R-VI School District.

“As a result of moving all sixth graders here, space opens up in our elementary school buildings for future growth,” Laughlin said. “More importantly, this school will help ensure a successful transition of students from elementary to middle school.”

The building, located next to Slaughter Field off of Highway 17, will feature 81,285 square feet of space strictly for sixth grade education, including 24 regular classrooms, 7 special education classrooms, a library, a cafeteria and a gymnasium. The center will also feature activity, art, music and instructional computer classrooms.

“This building, its curriculum, and its Positive Behavior Support systems have been purposefully designed for educating and developing sixth graders into exemplary citizens.” said Superintendent Judene Blackburn.

Blackburn said that the students in the district now have the special opportunity to spend a year in this building all because of the help of the community. The soldiers from the 14th Military Police Brigade, Partners in Education Team for the Sixth Grade Center, will volunteer with sixth graders in their Leadership Committees each week

“Beyond a commitment of the students, parents and teachers, good citizenship requires

all of us in this community to do our part,” Blackburn said. “I challenge each of us to participate in this village as we mold and shape students into model students and citizens.”

Sixth Grade Center Principal Marsha Smith ended the ceremony with a statement focused on the future.

“I want you to envision the year 2029 – 10 years after our first students have graduated from high school,” Smith said. “I believe these young boys and girls will be a full decade ahead of their peers in their maturity, in their volunteer service to others, and in their careers. I believe they will look back and proclaim the difference all began in Sixth Grade where they learned to be effective leaders.