It was a day of celebration for faculty, families, students, and friends who gathered to commemorate The Bodine School's 40th anniversary.
Under a bright blue sky, a 200-plus crowd spilled out from under a white tent as they applauded the visionary work of Bodine's founders, Richard and Virginia Bodine, who started the school in memory of their only son, Rick.
Bodine's student ambassadors greeted visitors. Some, like eighth-grader Rachel Robertson & fourth-grader Magen Sauer, served cake.
The celebration ushers in a new era at the school, one that Head of School Josh Clark anticiaptes will "shine a light" on teaching those with learning disabilities.
When Bodine first opened its doors in 1972, there was no other school in Tennessee exclusively serving children with dyslexia. Anticipating a raft of interest, faculty were dismayed when just three students initially enrolled. But as word spread, Bodine steadily grew. Today, 76 children work with 14 teachers learning how to learn with dyslexia.
Following the ribbon cutting, guests filed into the newly renovated school building, past this montage of famous faces, including Walt Disney, Mark Twain, Picasso, Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, and Magic Johnson, all of whom share dyslexia in common. Board member Mimi Clemons, whose son was the last high school student to graduate here in 2005, says their new emphasis will be on outreach and early intervention.
"We no longer want to be known as this community's hidden gem. We hope to draw a larger pool of students who need our services."
Ten-year-old Mason Pahlow is one student making great strides thanks to Bodine. "I'm reading way better," he says with a grin.
He began attending last year as a struggling reader. "He was very upset about having to come to this school," says mom Robbie Ann. "But now, he asks to come early and stay late."
In addition to visiting classrooms, guests could participate in different labs that give insight into how the dyslexic mind works.
Finally, many people came over to personally thank Richard Bodine, whose successful electronics company made the school possible. (Pictured right with Head of School Josh Clark.)
Archimania did the architectural remodeling for the school, transforming the original wood, brick, and beige with a brighter palette of white, blue, and primary colors. Some walls now sport bold graphic designs as well. The new look reflects a new outlook as the school renews it's commitment to provide education to those with dyslexia.