DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – From student led walkouts — to wow. South Oak Cliff High School re-opened today following a $52 million dollar renovation and the results are stunning.
“Everybody is so like, everybody so excited. they’re astonished by it,” says Sophomore Horace Bradshaw, VI, “they’re like ‘oh, wow. This wasn’t here, this wasn’t here!’ ”
Bradshaw, a student in the school’s P-Tech program, is earning college credits while attending high school. He was also born to be a SOC Golden Bear. “My Dad, my uncle, my grandpa” and the list goes on. He and the community have watched as the aging, but beloved campus, underwent much needed renovations.
“Me and my Dad drove by almost every day to see it… and it was awesome,” says Bradshaw, “a dream come true.”
But, four years ago, students at the school complained of nightmarish conditions– going online to share videos of leaking ceilings and what they said were unsafe conditions. Community leaders lent their support and students even staged walkouts, demanding not more repairs, but equity.
“It empowers them. It motivates them,” says Principal Willie Fred Johnson, Jr., Ed.D. According to Dr. Johnson, the changes aren’t just cosmetic. There are new spaces for arts, athletics, and collaborative learning spaces on each floor. “It gives them a sense of pride that their performance means something.”
Bradshaw says his grandfather would no doubt remind him to be grateful for the new space. He shares that his Dad would probably tell him to make sure his classmates keep it clean. And he had THIS to say to the former students who worked to bring about changes that they would not get to enjoy, and the community leaders who fought alongside them.
“Thank you. Thank you very much for your hard work and it’s paid off definitely…and I hope you come back to see what you’ve done for us.”
On Saturday at 11, the community is invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony at the school. Tours will be offered as well. Students are also planning a victory walk of sorts prior to the ribbon cutting from the Village Fair campus where they attended classes during the renovation. Community members are expected to join in the walk as well.
“It’s great to be a Golden Bear, that’s all I have to say,” adds Bradshaw. “There’s absolutely nothing like it.”