Local News

Athens Drive remembers principal during opening of new stadium

Posted August 19, 2016 9:03 p.m. EDT
Updated August 19, 2016 11:12 p.m. EDT

— The opening night of a new high school football stadium is always a special moment.

For the crowd at Athens Drive High, though, the opening of the new facility on Friday was also a moment to remember a member of the community who died recently.

Before the pomp and circumstance of the stadium opening, the Athens Drive High family paused to honor the memory of Dr. James Hedrick—the beloved principal who died suddenly three weeks ago. But those who knew him said he'd be proud of the field.

"Big sense of pride," said Assistant Athletic Director Ryan Westbrook. "Teachers are out, students are out, everybody is really having fun with it, enjoying it. Big sense of pride."

With Hedrick's death, this wasn't just another ribbon cutting: His wife and family did the honors in his memory.

"It's really exciting," said Athens Drive junior Grace Bunch. "I remember the old stadium, and I can see it's a new beginning with the new stadium, and everyone is just so excited."

Then it was time for some football.

Thomasine Doyle, an Athens Drive alum with a senior at the school now, witnessed the stadium's transformation first hand. She and many others we spoke with are impressed.

"I was like, 'Wow.' I couldn't believe it," Doyle said. "We've been so excited. My parents don't live far from here. So, every day we'd drive by, looking at the stadium, so excited."