LOGAN, Ala. – Saturday, April 17 saw the first opening day at Harmony School’s ball field in more than ten years. Crowds flocked to the field for opening ceremonies that included the parade of coaches, an invocation from Pastor Corey Drummond of Salem Baptist Church, speeches from Harmony principal Kevin Sullins and board member Gene Sullins and a first pitch thrown by Reading Coach Elaine Wren, followed by t-ball, baseball and softball games.
Cassie Swann, current PTO president and mother of a Harmony kindergartener, stated that only one season was played on Harmony’s field after it was established. “The last home game for Harmony School was 12 years ago. At the time, there were not enough students interested in playing to maintain a team,” she said. However, Matt Heaton (Harmony Special Education teacher, athletic director and cross–country coach for boys and girls) expressed interest in restarting the T-Ball, softball and baseball program in 2020. Due to COVID-19, all practices and games scheduled for that year were cancelled, delaying the return to the ball field until 2021.
Swann and Heaton both expressed enthusiasm about the impact that the games will have on the community each weekend. With an expected draw of at least 300 people throughout the day for each home game weekend, they both hope that the events will bring the community together and give these visitors the chance to appreciate Harmony’s campus. “The ability to host these events here on campus helps bring our community together for something to be proud of. Anything held on Harmony’s campus allows people to visit and see what a beautiful campus and facilities we have,” Heaton commented.
Swann stated similar opinions, but also went into detail about the economic impact these games would have on the surrounding community by visiting local stores and gas stations. “Within five miles of the school, there are two locally–owned gas stations, one locally–owned preschool (Excel Preschool), one–locally owned hardware/feed and seed store (Steven’s Poultry Supply), one locally-owned plant and flower nursery (Sweatmon’s on County Road 222) and two Dollar Generals. Nearen Construction of Cullman is also currently in the process of a major renovation of the former Jones Chapel Piggly Wiggly building,” she stated. “Our community is rapidly growing and it couldn’t come at a better time. We have so many active parents at our school that are very passionate about Harmony growing to a K-12 school. We are all willing to invest our time, efforts and energy to see that happen, not only for our school but for our community.”
Swann and Heaton also expressed their gratitude to the other people and businesses who helped make the new ball season a reality instead of just a hopeful dream. Heaton said that Elaine Wren and Heather Lynn (one of Harmony’s first grade teachers who was unable to throw the first pitch due to a schedule conflict) played a major role in what the school was able to accomplish, with Lynn starting a league played at Jones Chapel several years ago and Wren writing a grant to the CCCDC for funding of the ball field. Swann and her husband (Mitchell Swann, assistant coach for the t-ball team) thanked the numerous parents who volunteered their time and labor, the businesses who donated materials to build the dugouts, Augusta’s Sports Grill and A-Maze-Ing Shaved Ice for the food trucks they brought, and Pepsi for being the school sponsor and allowing concessions to be served out of the Pepsi trailer.
When asked what he thought the opening day meant for the school and the community, Heaton answered, “I believe all school athletic programs start at the youth level. This is where they grow and learn basic fundamentals to develop as an athlete and hopefully, be a part of the school program as they get older. As far as the community, they are ready and willing to help by any means necessary. The community is all-in to help build our school into more than what it is today. It is my hope that they succeed in their efforts.”
To the same question, Swann answered, “This day is so exciting for us as a school for so many reasons. Harmony is such an amazing school with so many wonderful students, parents and staff. We want our school to grow to a K-12 school and it begins with showing support from our community and Cullman County Board Members. Being able to have the first home game at the school in 12 years is huge because it shows the hard work and efforts put forth by volunteers, parents, teachers and the community. We are all so excited for this opportunity and for the possibilities it promises for the future of our school. Today’s game is just the beginning of big plans that we have in mind for our school and community.”
As a final comment, Swann said, “Harmony School was built to combine Jones Chapel School and Logan School and to honor Dowling School. Our school is comprised of hard working, community–oriented families. The games we held are very special to so many people that have worked hard to make a dream become a reality. To see the blue and green flags flying on game day as cars full of spectators pull in at our school is representative of a school pride that has not been forgotten. It is our hope that Harmony School continues to gain the attention deserved as a great school and that we gain the support of our community and board members to allow our school to grow. We are looking forward to a great season and many more possibilities in the future. Go Hawks!!”
Anyone who wishes to volunteer for the ball program to help with parking, concessions or coaching can contact Swann at firstname.lastname@example.org, Coach Heaton at email@example.com or Principal Sullins at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also contact the program on the Harmony Hawks Youth T-Ball/Baseball League Facebook page or the Harmony School Facebook page.
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