Originally published August 29, 2012 at 6 a.m., updated August 29, 2012 at 6 a.m.
Several hundred visitors observed the ribbon cutting to open the new Latham School facility and walked through the building for the open house and enjoyed cookies, cupcakes and other refreshments on Sunday, Aug. 26. Latham is located on Highway E, several miles south of Highway 50 between California and Tipton.
The classrooms and other school areas showed the hard work done by the construction crew, teachers and school staff to ready the school for students.
"Except for the kitchen, the school would be ready for classes to start tomorrow," said Administrator Tanya Brown.
The crowd gathered in front of the school building about 3 p.m. Rep. Caleb Jones, 117th District, took up the microphone and spoke briefly about the value of small schools such as the one at Latham.
"Growing up in a similar size school, I realize the importance of the school to a community this size," he said. "It's the glue that holds the community together."
He went on to praise the school board, staff and community which carried the school through the nearly two years between the devastating fire which destroyed the 80-year-old building and this fall when the students move into the new up-to-date construction of the new building.
Although Jones is the current representative of the Latham area, on Jan. 1, the redistricting plan begins, Latham will be represented by David Wood, recently elected in the new 58th District. Jones will then represent the 50th District which is approximately north of Highway 50. Wood, a former teacher from Versailles, was present but chose not to speak.
Following a drawing for door prizes and a bake sale to benefit the school, those present went outside in front of the building for the American Flag to be raised as the national anthem was sung by Erin Cary, a graduate of Latham Eight Grade, California High School and a second year student at Lincoln University, Jefferson City.
In addition to several hundred visitors, the event drew reporters from three area stations and local newspapers.