On April 27th, the conclusion of the infamous Key West High School (KWHS) backyard, an array of sports facilities in the back of the school, was finally recognized for its monumental upgrade from the original facility made in 2004. Christina McPherson, the principal of KWHS, hosted the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new backyard along with Nicolas Gonzalez, the KWHS Student Council president.
Although the backyard was open months before the ceremony, the administration still wanted to have a proper way of saying “thank you” to all the people who put their time and effort into this glamorous project. AJAX Construction, the company that took the reins on this project, hosted the grand opening. They had a tent set up for the educator officials, as well as having snacks and “swag bags” with their logo on it.
The superintendent of Monroe County, Teri Axford, made an appearance at the opening and thanked the people who designed, constructed, and heavily planned this project. Along with Axford, Teri Johnston, the mayor of the City of Key West, came to the ribbon cutting to show her support as well. The KWHS sports faculty was also present to receive a standing ovation for the input they put into the field, to make sure their sport was supported.
To kill two birds with one stone, KWHS made the grand opening coincide with the Spring Pep Rally. Each spring sport went to the field behind their designated sign, and celebrated the end of their season with the joyous tunes from the band. The “KWHS Fight Song,” the KWHS traditional anthem played by the Marching Conchs, was expressing the Conch Pride represented that day. With all that is going on in the present world, COVID-19, social injustices, etc., the grand opening reminded the community that there are new beginnings, and that to keep them coming we have to keep fighting.
Even though the support for this project also came from the community, the public was not allowed in the school for the ceremony. That being said, that didn’t stop some locals from sneaking in. As the event was going on, some individuals came into the stands and had “visitor passes” gleaming on their chests. This could have been taken under the impression from the advertisement for this event, since it was advertised locally.
With the funds of over $11 million, this certainly made the pitch of “go big or go home.” for future Conch Generations, they’ll look back on this moment and see that Conch Pride doesn’t just come in waves, but instead a whole storm.