The competition-size facility was completed this summer and will be named “Dan Deese Gymnasium” in honor of the educator, who spent 38 years at the school, including 27 years as principal.
Deese told a crowd of school employees, friends and family at the service that he is overwhelmed and humbled by the dedication.
“Those who know me know that I’m hardly ever at a loss of words,” he said. “I’ve thought and thought about what I would say today, but I could never seem to come up with the right words to express the depth of my feelings, to express the honor I felt. I couldn’t find the words to express how grateful and appreciative I was and how humbled I was by what was going to be done in my name.”
Deese went on to thank his co-workers and friends for their contributions to his career.
“For 38 years, I got to go to work every day at a place I came to love beyond measure,” Deese said. “I got to work with people that I care for deeply and who had a profound impact on my life. They became my friends, my co-workers; they gave me advice; they gave me compassion and dedication. Knowing these people, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, made me a better person, a better man, a better principal. There’s nothing I could ever do to repay what you’ve given to me. I thank you for what you meant to me then and what you mean to me now.”
Superintendent Renee Riggins presented a plaque and picture of Deese that will permanently hang in the multi-purpose gym, which has a special education classroom on the front and a softball locker room on the back. Riggins said the school system is proud of its new facility and especially proud of its name.
“We are honoring a great man who gave tirelessly of himself to this school and school system,” she said. “Mr. Deese always had the ability to relate effectively to students, facility, parents and fellow administrators. He has always had a gentle and delightful sense of humor which puts him in good esteem with old friends as well as people he has just met. Mr. Deese, your commitment and loyal service to this school and school system are appreciated far beyond our ability to acknowledge it. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.”
Current Pinecrest principal Gary Rivers called Deese the “true foundation of Pinecrest School.” Rivers said Deese continues to be an important part of the school.
“The things that he has done for this school will live on for many years to come,” he said. “Mr. Deese has had a huge impact on my life and on the lives of many, many others.”
Deese said he never expected to see his name on a building at the campus, and he looks forward to the many events that will take place there.
“It is my hope that this unbelievably beautiful facility will be the site of wonderful events and activities that will become treasured memories of those who participate,” he said. “It is also my hope that all of you here will continue to support Sylacauga City Schools and Pinecrest school.”
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