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Grand opening for a grand stadium

Demopolis High School opened its new stadium with style Saturday night, and that gave increased meaning to the new facility.

First of all, the turnout was excellent. I want to thank everyone who turned out for the dedication. It means so much more when a lot of people turn out for a community function.

Public address announcer Van Kelley thanked just about everyone involved in bringing the new stadium to the high school, from its inception to its completion.

School board members past and present as well as the stadium committee members were all given a public “thank you.”

Representatives from the contactors and architects were invited to be on hand, and stood with those school board members and others who worked to get the new stadium.

The DHS Quarterback Club unveiled a bronze tiger named “Pride.” While the word “pride” usually refers to a group of lions, this Tiger “Pride” will be a new tradition for DHS football players and staff. Like Clemson’s Howard’s Rock or Auburn’s pre-game “Tiger Walk” to the stadium, the players rubbing the tiger before each game can be a source of school spirit and identification. (“Demopolis? That’s the school that has that tiger.”)

Finally, the grand finale of the night came with a fireworks display to rival any other fireworks display seen here in Demopolis.

Premier Pyrotechnics — with the help of DHS alumni Mark, Buddy and Earl Pickel (one of whom was a baseball teammate of mine on O’Neal’s) — put on a star-spangled show that befit a professional venue dedication.

Many thanks also to RockTenn and the DHS Quarterback Club for its help in bringing this fantastic show to our field.

As a Demopolis schools alumnus, I am proud not just for the stadium itself — which rivals several small Division I colleges — but also in the manner in which it was opened to the public. Frankly, we did it up right, and we can look ahead to years of success, fun, excitement and pride in the years to come at Tiger Stadium — our stadium.