The Athens City Schools Foundation: Leaving A Legacy Brick By Brick

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Construction of our new Athens High School on Hwy 31 North is well underway, and the Athens City Schools Foundation is inviting all Athenians to become a permanent part of its legacy and to impact our community long after we are gone. How? By purchasing what they are calling a Legacy Brick.

By way of background, the late Jackie Greenhaw, himself a former coach and teacher, started the Foundation in the 1970s as a way to provide supplies and opportunities for students that teachers had paid for out of their own pocket and the goodness of their hearts. My husband and I know one such teacher in another state who has nothing like a Foundation to support her. Our friend, who teaches 4th grade in the mountains of the Carolinas sometimes stays at her school ‘til 11 p.m., even with her devoted husband’s help; they routinely sacrifice for kids who are not their own because they understand the necessity of investing in education and their community. I wish our friends had people such as Dr. Chris Hamilton, who heads up the brick project, or Dr. Trey Holladay, Athens City Schools Superintendent in their corner!

This year the Foundation has already given 20 thousand dollars in order to grant every third grader in the Athens City Schools the opportunity to learn to play the violin. They are taught by members of the Huntsville Symphony, and the students also get the chance to go see performances as part of this program. The powerful and positive role of music in education is inarguable, and this is an example of what a community can do to get behind the development of their future leaders.
Dr. Chris Hamilton taught Business Marketing at Calhoun and was a college administrator for many years. She then became part of the launch of the Athens Schools’ Power Up Program. She saw the need for students to become and remain current with technological trends if they were going to be competitive, which was Power Up’s focus, school by school and student by student. There came a time when Chris felt that she needed to do something different while continuing to be involved in the field of education, and the Foundation was the perfect fit.

Dr. Hamilton told me, “The idea of offering the legacy bricks came about soon after we knew there was going to be a new high school, and we wanted to make them affordable for everyone. Some ‘paver projects’ start at $250.00, and ours start at $50.00.” She went on to say that there is going to be room for a full 5,000 bricks at the back gymnasium/auditorium/event entrance dedicated to the legacy bricks. “If we get more than the 5,000, we’ll go around the sides to the front,” she added with a smile.

If you purchase a 4”x8” brick, you will be able to have three lines with up to 18 characters per line to fill. This means that spaces between words count as characters, and your wording will be in capital letters centered in the middle of the brick. An 8”x8” brick costs $100, has up to six lines with up to 18 characters per line. A 12”x12” brick costs $225. It may contain up to 10 lines of copy with a maximum of 23 characters per line.

The Foundation Legacy Brick informational material also noted, “Engraved on your brick can be a family name, current student, alumni, teacher, staff member, business or organization. You can choose to honor someone special or place a brick in memory of a loved one. Bricks can be donated to memorialize a special achievement, a memorable event or a graduating class. Engraved bricks make wonderful gifts. Every brick has a story. Write yours. History is in the making. Your brick will be a place where the past meets the future in a perfectly preserved moment as a permanent part of Golden Eagle History. Proceeds will go to the Athens City Schools Foundation to support our teachers and students. Together we make a difference.”

Students are welcome to purchase the Legacy Bricks as well, in the event that they want to say thanks to a special teacher, coach, or staff member. The possibilities are nearly endless, so don’t miss this opportunity to build a memory and a legacy, literally.

All orders for Legacy Bricks must be placed by January 1, 2018. You can order online at For more information, please call Chris Hamilton at 256-233-6600. You may also stop by the Athens City Schools central office entry foyer at 455 Hwy 31 North to pick up an order form.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner