D-B students seek #039;sign#039; of generosity

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2005

For the first time in a great while, the student council of Dawson-Bryant High School will not be going to King's Island.

They are forgoing a day of theme-park fun to put their efforts into something more permanent, a beacon of school spirit and a hub of information for the community of Coal Grove.

Last fall, as he stared at the marquee of his church, 12th-grader Jeremy Dillon had an epiphany - a vision of a similar digital sign at his school displaying school announcements, information, even time and temperature.

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Once he began to share his idea, excitement for the project quickly spread through the student council.

Dillon and the council didn't want to just give the students at the school a snazzy sign; they wanted it to mean something to the area. They wanted something that would let the community know about athletic events, and help families keep their fingers on the pulse of Dawson-Bryant.

"It's also to try to help get parents involved," Dillon said. "Especially in high school, parents tend to not be involved anymore. Especially when big tests come up kids have a tendency to not tell parents, this will help the parents know what's going on at the high school."

As he and his fellow council members began to research similar signs in the area as well as manufacturers, they ran into a roadblock that might seem impassable for a less-motivated group: A $30,000 price tag.

Surprisingly, the school board bought into Dillon's vision just as much as the student council. They agreed to picking up half of the cost, if the students could come up with the remaining funds.

The board wanted "the biggest and the best" according to the council, and they feel like they've gotten that when their current design. The crimson and black sign will stand almost 11-feet-high, with three rows of text on a digital LED screen.

With the look of the sign in place, all the remained was the not-so-simple task of collecting $15,000, enough money, as a basis of comparison, to buy King's Island tickets for every single student of Dawson-Bryant High School.

The train of donations got rolling with Lawrence County Clerk of Courts Les Boggs who donated land he owns adjacent to the school for the sign to reside, as well as a sizable chunk of change.

The student council kept that momentum, holding a servant auction where fellow students could pay to have a council member carry their books, buy their lunch and dress to their liking. That was followed by a basketball shoot-out during which the students raised "a couple hundred dollars."

Though they've made a dent, the students still have miles to go before they sleep, to the tune of about $13,000.

They have more events on the docket, like a fund-raising car wash and a spring break spent entirely canvassing the area trying for donations, but they're hanging many of their hopes on the generosity of the Coal Grove alumni and the community. Time is of the essence, as the sign will be erected this August, should the funds be available.

Those wishing to help the kids of Dawson-Bryant get their sign may contact Darrell Humphreys, Student Council Advisor, at (740) 532-6345.