DUNDALK — The new Dundalk Elementary School is state of the art, and has become quite famous countywide. It’s been commemorated with several opening ceremonies and ribbon cuttings, the most recent of which included new Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Darryl Williams.
Celebrating tradition while moving forward is the theme of the new Dundalk Elementary.
The new school held its ceremonial ribbon cutting on Oct. 2, exactly one month after the school opened its doors to students for the first time. The 2019-20 school year began on Sept. 2.
Students, faculty, elected officials and other dignitaries assembled outside in front of the school to mark the monumental occasion.
Principal Michael Parker delivered the opening remarks at the ceremony, and explained to the students of DES that “dreams do come true,” as he told the story of his ambition to become the principal of the school he once attended.
“Boys and girls, this message is for you,” Parker said. “A year-and-a-half ago, I stood on the steps of the old Dundalk Elementary and said three words back then – perseverance, commitment and determination.
“Today, as I stand before you in front of the new Dundalk Elementary, I use these same words to describe our journey that has led us to where we are now. Boys and girls, I’m here to tell you that dreams do come true.”
Parker told those in attendance that he was born and raised in Dundalk and attended the old Dundalk Elementary. He later taught at the school from 1991 until 1999.
He eventually became a principal at another elementary school, he said, but had a dream to one day be the principal of Dundalk Elementary.
“That dream came true,” Parker said. “As the days went by, my new goal soon became clearer and we began to advocate for a new building. Look around you, boys and girls. Dreams do come true.”
Parker said that while embarking on the journey to build a new elementary school, the slogan “celebrating tradition while moving forward” was coined.
“It’s very fitting that we have a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the same entranceway that welcomed hundreds of thousands that entered the Dundalk Elementary doors since 1926,” Parker said. “While the building has changed, the heart of the people who walk the hallways has remained the same.”
Parker told the students that they are the connection to the past while leading the school into the future. It isn’t the building, but the people that make the school, he said.
“The new building won’t define who we are, but it certainly will enhance all that we do,” Parker said. “We have a great community with great parents and great teachers. But most importantly, we have fantastic students.”
New Baltimore County school Superintendent Darryl Williams also addressed attendees, saying that honoring the school’s past is a tribute to the strength of the community, its families and its students.
Photographs and artifacts from the old Dundalk Elementary have been placed inside the new school.
“It is a powerful reminder when students come into school every day, of their important place in the grand history of this school and of this community,” Williams said. “We are fortunate in Baltimore County to have leaders who have the foresight to support the growth here and across the county with the infrastructure needed to guarantee a high quality of life.
“That begins with ensuring good and high-quality schools for those settling in these new and often historical county communities.”
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olzsewski Jr. spoke at the podium after County School Board Chair Kathleen Causey and School Board District 7 representative Rod McMillion.
Olszewski said that to see the transformation happening at DES and across the Dundalk community is “really exciting.
“It speaks to the value of all you boys and girls out there, that you all deserve this building. You all deserve clean, safe, modern facilities. You deserve the great teachers and principals and administrators you have, because you are our future and you deserve the very best. Here in Baltimore County, we are committed to making sure you have that,” he said.
State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (Republican, Sixth District) presented the school with a new American flag. Baltimore County Councilman Todd Crandell (Republican, 7th District) spoke at the podium and presented Parker with a resolution that was signed by all seven council members.
Crandell also addressed the Dundalk Elementary Parent-Teacher Association.
“Boys and girls, this is what happens when people decide to work together and get over differences they may have, and persevere as Principal Parker says,” Crandell said about the completion of the new school building. He referred to disagreements within the community before construction began.
“Now, look at what we’ve accomplished years ahead of what we were told when this project was going to happen. The doors are opening years ahead of what was planned, and you all should be very proud of the work that you did to advocate for your kids and the community of Dundalk,” Crandell said.
“You should be proud of the role models you have become for other PTAs and for these boys and girls.”
The ceremony ended with the student body singing the school song, followed by the ribbon-cutting. After the ceremony, a reception was held in the cafeteria, and tours of the new facility were provided.