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Posted: August 11, 2017 10:16 a.m.
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New Diamond shines at Stewart

Photo by Ron Elliott/

For the first day of school, children at Diamond Elementary School gather in the gym, prior to being escorted to class, Aug. 3.

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Hundreds of parents on Fort Stewart escorted the nearly 625 students enrolled in the newest Department of Defense Education Activity Americas Southeast District School, Aug. 3, at Fort Stewart.     

Children and Families experienced a dramatic contrast upon entering the newly completed Diamond Elementary School.  Walking in from a wet, overcast morning to a bright and cheery marvel of modern architecture - met by 3rd Infantry Division mascot, Rocky, and the 3rd ID Band’s brass quintet; helped make, for many, the first day of school a fun experience. 

3rd ID Commanding General, Major General Lee Quintas and 3rd ID Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Hendrex attended the day’s event, along with DODEA’s Fort Stewart-South Carolina Community Superintendent, Dr. Kathleen Reiss, to mark the occasion.  

The school principal, Tim Gardner was very pleased with the new school and its first day – adding the support by the 3rd ID, Fort Stewart and DoDEA has been incredible.   

“DoDEA embraces the 21st Century Building concept,” said Diamond Elementary School Principal, Tim Gardner, noting the new building’s layout, technology, and teacher collaboration philosophy will help facilitate learning.

Kinneth Bouknight, Diamond Elementary School Admin Officer said the 122,000 square foot school has a 700 person capacity; is environmentally friendly with solar and wind power; has the latest in innovations in security and information technology along with open education suites broken down into nine neighborhoods for student instruction.

Within each neighborhood, classrooms (capable of seating 24 students each) open to a shared lobby. Although each are appear to be open, they all have movable walls that allow them to be enclosed if needed.  Each suite offers a separate 1-on-1 room; a small group interaction room; and a separate staff office.  Although each suite offers a low-key relaxed environment, they also contains high tech security-access and the latest in modern education resources - such as touch screen bulletin boards.  The suite allows children of the same grade to move about their respective suites – reducing confusion and enhancing education. 

Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Garrison commander Col. Jason Wolter and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Martin Conroy were also on-hand for the day’s events.

Wolter, who also has a son starting at the school, said he was very pleased with the day’s event, especially with the 3rd ID’s support – adding the band and Rocky were very well received.  He said he was impressed with the school, and thought it would make an great addition to the community. 

“It’s nice here,” said 5th grader Brett Wolter, age 9.  He said at some schools, classroom and hallways are cramped, noting it sometimes make children restless.  “This is great – easy to move between subjects and classes.”

 

The school was named after Pfc. James H. Diamond, from Gulfport, MS; who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in World War II serving with Co. D., 21st Inf. Regiment, 24th ID. 


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