MINT HILL – Second-grade student Kendall Newell is a fourth-generation Bain student.
It all started with her great-grandmother, Mattie Newell, who attended kindergarten through 12th grade at Bain in the 1920s.
The tradition passed on to Kendall’s grandfather, Jimmie Newell, and great-aunt, Shirley, who attended the school in the 1950s and 60s. Kendall’s dad, Josh, and her uncle, Trent, went to Bain in the 1980s, and her grandmother, Donna Smith, spent 32 years of her educational career as a teacher at Bain, retiring just a few years ago.
“I think it’s really cool that my whole family went there,” Kendall said. And now, with the dedication of Bain’s new school building Thursday, Sept. 26, Kendall’s family can attend the school for years to come.
The school has more than 120 years of history in the Mint Hill community and was approved in the 2007 bond for a new facility. But a new facility doesn’t mean a new school, Principal John LeGrand said in a previous interview with Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly. The new 82,000-square-foot-facility that is now housing about 800 first through fifth-grade students will be a continuation of a rich tradition, LeGrand added. The school’s kindergarteners remain in a newer portion of the old school building since the school has more than 900 students in all.
The new facility also is equipped with wireless Internet and mounted projection systems in each classroom and calls for new iPads – a set of 10 for each classroom, kindergarten through fifth-grade.
“Everything is sort of similar, but a lot of it is just new and fresh,” Kendall said. “A really cool change is that there are two computer labs.”
Hope Newell, Kendall’s mom, grew up in the Mint Hill community, as well, though she didn’t attend Bain. But staying in the area was important to her and her husband, Josh, who is an owner at local Newell and Crump Heating and Cooling, because of their roots.
“We just like this area. We’re not moving because I’m not taking either one of my children out of Bain School,” Hope Newell said. Her 3-year-old son, Cooper, will attend Bain in two years. “And my husband was really proud to have Kendall go to Bain because she was a fourth-generation Newell to go there.”
The Newell’s are just one example of families in the area that have deep roots in the Bain community. The school’s academic facilitator, Kelli Drye, attended Bain as a kid. She’s now taught at Bain for 20 years, she said, following in the footsteps of her mom, who dedicated 23 years or so to the school. Drye also met her husband, Steve Drye, at Mint Hill Middle School when he was a teacher. He’s now principal.
And while the campus has a new building, she said the school’s deep history in the community will always remain.
“I’ve always said Bain has had kind of a family feel to it,” Kelli Drye said. “When kids come to us in kindergarten, they stay here. We teach kids, and then we teach their kids.”
Drye said the added technology at the new school building has been the greatest change and adjustment. With the addition of iPads, Apple T.V. and projectors, she said it’s been exciting to see students learn in new and fun ways, whether researching or using their creativity on the iPads. The technology has helped students become more interested in about learning, Drye said.
But there have been some adjustments with the new school, she said. With kindergartener students and staff separated from the rest of the school, Drye said teachers and staff are working to ensure the separation doesn’t affect the community feel.
“We just want to make sure the kindergarten team still feels like they belong,” Drye said.
Kendall agrees. What does she miss most about the old school building? Her kindergarten teacher Michelle Kane, she said.
“She made me comfortable and we just know her really good,” Kendall said. “There was a lot of really fun stuff in her class.”