By John James Marshall, Special to the Press-Tribune

Sweltering summer conditions couldn’t hold back hundreds of citizens from attending the ribbon cutting at Haughton Elementary Monday.

The school opened its doors for the first time after being introduced by Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith. 

“It’s a hot, hot day,” Smith said. “But it’s also a cool day to be a student, a parent, and a member of this community. It’s a very close community as well as a fast-growing community.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony began with Public Relations Liaison for Bossier Parish Schools, Sonja Bailes, welcoming the sizable crowd to a roaring applause.

“We could not be more excited about Haughton continuing to grow,” Bailes said. “The faculty and staff here at Haughton Elementary School are eager to show you around the new campus as Bossier Schools continues to earn the distinction of being the fastest growing school district in all of North Louisiana.”

Haughton High School’s LA-801st JROTC presented the colors and pledge of allegiance before Principal Andrea Spinney addressed the crowd.

“‘Anchored in Excellence is the motto you will find in rooms and hallways across our campus, because our team will strive to achieve that goal on a daily basis,” Spinney said. “That is easily done when you have a Tier I aligned curriculum, but when you also have a collaborative team effort that combines over one hundred years of experience from our staff.”

Parents, students and citizens were invited inside to take a tour of the new school after further remarks from Superintendent Smith.

“As you go through, you will be able to see everything has been completely refurbished for an elementary school. Every one of these kids is going to get a great education,” Smith said. “I’m very proud of the faculty and the staff under the direction of Mrs. Spinney and what they have done to get this place ready for the 2018-19 school year. Our vision is to be the highest performing school district in the state of Louisiana, and Haughton Elementary will be a huge part of that. 

Bossier Parish Schools officials and community members celebrated the opening of the Haughton Elementary Monday, July 23. (Randy Brown/Press-Tribune)

Parents of new students at the elementary school were among many onlookers who endured blistering heat for a first look at the school.

Alecia Fohl, a bus driver for Haughton High School, said this is a great opportunity for families living on the same side of Haughton as the new campus.

“It will be easier on families, especially those like mine,” Fohl said. “I have three kids, and if this school didn’t open up this year, they would be separated. Having them all in one elementary school makes it much easier on me and my family.” 

Resident Tiffany Moore said she and her nine-year-old daughter, Tatyana Moore, were a bit nervous about the new school. However, the fears eased when they saw the new school.

“We were a little scared at first,” Moore said. “My daughter is used to being with her friends at Elm Grove. But I told her to give it a try, make some new friends. Now I think after seeing this today, we are both excited for it.”