“We believe in you”

J.M. Alexander Middle School celebrated the dedication of a replacement school on Oct. 17 with the presentation of the American flag and the North Carolina flag. Appropriately, the date of May 20, 1775, is on the North Carolina flag since John McKnitt Alexander, for whom the school is named, was a signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration on that same date.

The new 54-classroom building was constructed with funds from the 2013 bond referendum. It replaces the old J. M. Alexander, originally constructed in 1959.

Principal Angela M. Blue was joined by students, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education member Rhonda Lennon (District 1) and Dr. Clayton Wilcox, superintendent, for the dedication.

The eighth-grade orchestra performed "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."

Blue spoke about going through CMS schools, eventually ending up at East Mecklenburg High. She had a teacher who recognized her potential in biology even though she didn't. The teacher pushed Blue and told her that "she will not be average."

"One person believed in me and that made all the difference," said Blue. "We believe in all of you at J.M. Alexander. We have very high expectations for you and are preparing you for a future that we don't know anything about."

Rory Moran, an eighth-grader who started the school's History Club, talked about the history of John McKnitt Alexander in Mecklenburg County. The school stands near property that was once owned by Alexander.

Ciara Dixon, also an eighth-grader, spoke about the history of the school's mascot, the Blue Devil. She said that the Blue Devils were originally a group of soldiers in World War I.

"The Blue Devil scholars of J. M. Alexander possess all the characteristics of the original Blue Devils," said Ciara. "We treat others the way they want to be treated. Like the Real Blue Devils, we stand for what is right."

Dr. Wilcox emphasized the need for bonds while speaking about the funds that provided the new building.

"It is a wonderful privilege to stand here in a school that will provide students wider opportunities for the future," said Dr. Wilcox. "The International Baccalaureate program at the school will make sure the students are well prepared for what the future brings them."