Kamora Lewis, 4, smiled as she stood in the front hallway of Monday afternoon.
Standing beside her was her mom, Kendra Adams, and her grandmother, Regina Calhoun. Both women said they were also students at Germantown Elementary.
On Wednesday, Kamora will follow the family tradition, starting pre-kindergarten at Germantown—but in a brand new building just down the street from the .
Adams said Kamora has been looking forward to starting the year in a brand new school and that she says, “Mommy, that’s my school,” whenever they drive by it.
Members of the community got a peek at the 89,995-square-foot facility on Monday following a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate its completion.
“As you can see, I am beaming with pride and excitement at this opportunity to lead our learners in this amazing new facility,” said Walter Reap, the school’s principal, to the crowds gathered outside Germantown.
The school features a computer lab and media center, as well as bathrooms in every classroom.
Claps and cheers came from the crowd when Anne Arundel County School Board President Patricia Nalley mentioned that the new school has a separate gym and cafeteria—something the old school shared in one room.
And even louder claps came—many from the kids—when she mentioned that the new gym has a rock climbing wall.
Those attending also talked about the portable classrooms in the old building.
“I’m surprised nobody stood up and said goodbye to the portable classrooms,” said Annapolis Alderman Fred Paone (R-2nd Ward), who represents the area where the school is.
Paone said when his daughter attended Germantown Elementary about 18 years ago, there were about nine portable classrooms.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell also spoke to the crowd about visiting the old school and its portable classrooms multiple times in the pouring rain.
Maxwell joked that the sunshine that greeted the new school during the ceremony really was “truly a new beginning.”
The excitement could be heard in the voices of those looking ahead to the new school year. As a group of young girls entered the new media center, they said: “Oh, you’re joking me,” and “You’ve got to be kidding!”
It was also apparent that many community members fondly remember their time at the school. Peering into the new cafeteria was Libby Hopkins, Helene Sachs and Gerry Cole, three Annapolis women who attended the school together starting in 1946.
“It’s amazing,” said Helene Sachs, an Admiral Heights resident, said of the new school and of being there. Sachs said her three children all went to Germantown Elementary as well.
The women said they thought it would be fun to reminisce by visiting the school together.
Molly Connors, whose fifth-grade daughter, Camille, attends the school, said the new facility is “great for the community, great for the kids and great for Annapolis.”
The principal, however, may have been most the excited one of all.
“I’m just ecstatic,” Reap said.
In addition to the new school, Germantown , the elementary school element of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme this year.
View a photo gallery from the ceremony.