Bicentennial Schools of Excellence honors 21 Alabama schools with grant, unique marble sculpture

Bicentennial Schools of Excellence honors 21 Alabama schools with grant, unique marble sculpture
One of 21 custom marble sculptures created by Sylacauga’s Craigger Browne for the Bicentennial Schools of Excellence awards. (contributed)

Just when you might think sculptor Craigger Browne has done it all with Sylacauga marble, he chisels something new to help mark the state’s 200th birthday.

Gov. Kay Ivey joins other state leaders in presenting 21 Alabama schools with the Alabama Bicentennial School of Excellence award. (contributed)

On Tuesday, 21 schools were honored during a Bicentennial Schools of Excellence ceremony hosted by Gov. Kay Ivey at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery. Each school, three from each of Alabama’s seven Congressional Districts, received a $5,000 grant along with a special Sylacauga marble sculpture created by Browne.

Browne’s latest inspirational masterpiece – and only the 21 were created, with no two exactly alike – is called “The Dawning.” Three hills, he told, symbolize the foundation of a solid education as pyramids, the most stable of geometric shapes, weathered by wisdom and time. The rising sun represents every student – a circle, the shape with the most potential for motion, and translucent, polished and glowing.

“Just as the sculptor brings to life the beauty and potential inside each stone, so does the teacher with each student,” according to Browne in the event’s printed program.

Ivey launched the initiative in December 2017, encouraging students statewide to help celebrate Alabama becoming the 22nd state on Dec. 14, 1819. In August 2018, she announced that 200 Alabama Bicentennial Schools received $2,000 grants supporting year-long projects designed to strengthen connections between campuses and their communities. Honorable mentions and $500 grants were awarded to 56 schools.

The schools which received a Bicentennial Schools of Excellence award Tuesday are:

1st Congressional District

  • Clark-Shaw Magnet School, Mobile
  • Phillips Preparatory School, Mobile
  • Rachel Patterson Elementary School, Atmore

2nd Congressional District

  • Headland Middle School, Headland
  • Montana Street Magnet School, Dothan
  • Webb Elementary School, Webb

3rd Congressional District

  • Auburn High School, Auburn
  • Cedar Bluff School, Cedar Bluff
  • Springville Elementary School, Springville

4th Congressional District

  • G. W. Trenholm Primary School, Tuscumbia
  • Hamilton Elementary School, Hamilton
  • Walker Elementary School, Northport

5th Congressional District

  • Athens High School, Athens
  • Kilby Laboratory School, Florence
  • Moores Mill Intermediate School, New Market

6th Congressional District

  • Chelsea Park Elementary School, Chelsea
  • Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, Vestavia Hills
  • Pinson Valley High School, Pinson

7th Congressional District

  • Myrtlewood Elementary School, Fosters
  • George W. Carver High School, Birmingham
  • Oakdale Elementary School, Tuscaloosa

The Alabama Bicentennial Schools Initiative is a partnership of Alabama 200, the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and the Alabama State Department of Education.

This story was originally published at

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