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Saluda Trail Middle School Celebrates 25th Anniversary


Saluda Trail Middle School commemorated its 25th anniversary with a grand celebration, bringing together students, staff, alumni, and community members to honor the school’s rich history and achievements. The event included heartfelt speeches, engaging activities, and nostalgic reflections on the school’s journey since being established in 1999

"Today, we reflect on our journey from humble beginnings to the vibrant community we are today," said Lisa Dwyer-Dantzler, the school's Journalism & Photography teacher, in her opening remarks. "Saluda Trail Middle School emerged as the district's fourth middle school, boldly embracing the motto 'Blazing Trails in the New Millennium.'”

The celebration featured a keynote address by Dr. Al Leonard, the school's inaugural principal. Dr. Leonard reminisced about the early days of Saluda Trail and the foundational values which continue to guide the school.

"From its inception, Saluda Trail Middle School was designed to serve students across three pivotal grade levels: sixth, seventh, and eighth,” he said. “The months leading up to our opening were marked by intense preparation as educators and staff poured their hearts into creating an environment that would foster both academic achievement and personal growth."

Dr. Leonard also shared his experiences choosing the school colors and mascot, which engaged staff and students.

"We decided to adopt the term ‘Blazing Trails in the New Millennium’ as a great model," he said. "One of my most memorable moments was when the South Carolina Middle School Association recognized Saluda Trail to receive the Award of Excellence."

The festivities included a pep rally, where students enjoyed performances by the school band and dance team and participated in chant competitions. DJ Kevin Porter took students and staff down memory lane with nineties fashion, technology, and music highlights.

The assembly kicked off Field Day, which provided students and staff with fun-filled activities such as corn hole, tug-of-war, and relays. Dessert food trucks added a sweet touch to the celebrations.

Later in the day, students showcased their creative talents in a Visual Arts Showcase, which featured artwork, photography, and digital designs. The gallery event allowed the community to appreciate the dedication and creativity of Saluda Trail's young artists.

The anniversary celebration ended with an "Under the Stars" movie night, where families enjoyed a free outdoor movie with popcorn, pizza, and frozen treats. As a reward, the grade level with the highest attendance earned a dress-down day.

Reflecting on the school's milestone, the current principal, Dr. Marek Marshall, emphasized the collaborative spirit that has driven Saluda Trail's success.

"As the years passed, Saluda Trail Middle School blossomed, thanks to the unwavering support of our community and parents,” he said. “This support has been instrumental in our academic, athletic, and artistic success, allowing us to truly live up to our motto."

The anniversary celebration was a testament to Saluda Trail Middle School's enduring legacy and commitment to excellence, which are essential to the fabric of Rock Hill Schools.

"Together, we celebrate 25 years of shaping young minds, nurturing talents, and creating a legacy of achievement,” Dwyer-Dantzler said. “Happy 25th Anniversary to the Saluda Trail Middle School family—past, present, and future. Gooooooo Wildcats!"


Visit our Facebook post to view the event photos: