Right after the ribbon was cut and the doors were opened, a work crew was still handling details on a very important wallhanging inside the new Denny International Middle School – a banner with the slogan, “Expect the best.”
That’s what was on display during what Denny principal Jeff Clark called “a thrilling day” – including his best suit, renowned for its shade of bright blue:
The weather couldn’t have been better – the sun shone bright as Denny/Sealth construction-project manager Robert Evans got help from two students to raise the flags:
(Photo by MIKE SIEGEL/The Seattle Times, used with permission)
Also worth of “best” status – the national-anthem performance by Janelle Maroney:
Janelle is both a Denny alum and Chief Sealth International High School student – perfect symbolism for the fact the two schools are now the first middle/high-school combo in Seattle Public Schools to share a campus. It hasn’t been a universally popular idea along the way; School Board president Steve Sundquist acknowledged the “robust discussion” dating back four-plus years (such as this meeting we covered in June 2007), to the passage of the levy that raised the money for the project.
But it moved ahead, and the new 130,000-square-foot school now prepares to welcome students on Wednesday. With so many involved along the way, the list of those who helped cut the ribbon was long – here are all the sets of scissors set out for them:
Sheree Fantz-Gut from the Denny PTSA and Nadene Paltep, student-body president, led the “call to the ribbon” – summoning the participants – and then, everyone counted down, to the strategic snips:
As the school has been readied for opening this summer (here’s our story on an August tour), the old Denny has been demolished a few blocks away (after one last sentimental journey), and the site has been cleared, to make way for fields, tennis courts, play equipment, and maybe someday an elementary school. But the history embodied by the school’s name remains – and the celebration included Andy Harris, a descendant of the school’s namesake, pioneering Seattle settler David Thomas Denny:
(Denny’s life is detailed here – including reasons for renown beyond being a settler; he even helped Washington women win the right to vote.) After that bow to the past, it was time to look ahead. After going through the co-location-planning process with Sealth’s now-former principal John Boyd, Denny principal Clark has a new partner, Sealth’s interim principal Chris Kinsey, and they’re about to make Seattle Public Schools history:
Give them a few weeks to settle into it, then check out the campus for yourself during Denny’s community open house at 10 am on Saturday, September 24th.