Students, community members, Williston Public School District No. 1 administrators, teachers and Governor Jack Dalrymple with First Lady Betsy came to show support for the re-opening of McVay Elementary School on Tuesday.
District No. 1 Superintendent Viola LaFontaine thanked the community for their help in getting the building ready in time for the beginning of the school year.
“I want to show how grateful I am and thanking you for trusting in the district,” LaFontaine said. “Not everything was complete, but we were ready to start classes.”
LaFontaine highlighted the night before school started this year and talked of teachers and McVay staff moving in, cleaning and sweeping in time for school to open the next morning.
Several business owners, churches and other members of the community donated funds to reopen the school, including Sonny and Pat Hanson who recently donated $20,000 to a fifth-grade classroom at McVay.
“It’s not always about dollars and cents, but sometimes that’s what it takes,” LaFontaine said.
LaFontaine introduced Gov. Dalrymple and described him as someone who truly does listen.
“He doesn’t just listen, but he visits and he sees what our needs are,” Lafontaine said. “He truly is a governor who care about children – he took action to give us the financial support we needed for the district ,and he doesn’t just visit and acknowledge that there are problems out there; he doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.”
Dalrymple said he was apprehensive about how the school would pan out by the beginning of the year.
“I think I was even more nervous than Viola about getting school started in the fall,” Dalrymple said. “I want to congratulate the community; this just goes to show what a community can do when you know what you can accomplish and put your mind to it, and judging from the kids’ responses, they’re just fine with it.”
Dalrymple commended LaFontaine and the legislators for helping to reopen the school.
“They do a great job for you in Bismarck, and they’re really on top of it,” He said.
Dalrymple said the reopening was a day to be celebrated.
“We should think about what it means that 12 years ago, McVay was closed from declining enrollment,” Dalrymple said. “This really tells us what’s happening in our region.”
After the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially reopen McVay Elementary School, community members, Gov. Dalrymple, first lady Betsy and administrative members of District No. 1 headed to Lewis and Clark Elementary School so the students could sing a song of appreciation to the governor for his help.
“We don’t just give a thank you card to show our appreciation,” LaFontaine said. “We get 300 students to sing it to you.”