As the school year draws to a close, Canton Academy is enjoying the culmination of two years worth of planning, dreaming, generosity, and hard work in the form of a new eight-lane rubber track, resurfacing the existing asphalt track as well as field event surfaces. “The new track has been great. Sometimes, I forget we are at home during our meets because the competitions are so much bigger and better,” said senior Jenson Williams. Jenson started her track career in fourth grade at CA and has since competed in pole vault, 400m dash, 200m dash, 4 x 2 relay, 4 x 1 relay, and 4 x 4 relay and been a part of four State Championship track teams.
Coach Ben Williams has dreamed of this new track since he joined the CA coaching staff nine years ago. As the coach for girls basketball, cross country, girls and boys track, and currently serving as athletic director, Coach Ben says athletes like Jenson who compete in six events are benefitting from this new track because the synthetic surface is so much easier on the athletes’ legs, and that care for his kids was his biggest push to make the synthetic track surface a reality. “With eight lanes, this new track puts CA in the position to host South State and State track meets along with the ability to host competitions including more schools, and that’s exciting for our future,” adds Coach Ben.
“There have been several people who have worked diligently over the past year to bring this project to fruition. Leigh Pace; Ralph Barnes (Adcamp); Lonnie Harris (Lonnie Harris Construction); Scott Penn (Scott Penn, Inc.); Chad Wages Sr.; and Coach Ben Williams were all heavily involved in the planning, oversight and the completion of the track project, and it could not have been finished without all of their total commitment to it.
A special thanks to Adcamp owned by Ralph Barnes, Charlie Haley, and the Clyde Edwards family,” says CA Head of School Ron Jurney. “We continue to be amazed how our families within our fine school and the businesses in our community get behind our school fundraising activities and major projects. This kind of support has enabled the school to retain quality teachers and coaches as well.”
That same support showed itself recently at the annual CA Spring Fling drawdown under the direction of Alison Spivey with a record number of tickets sold and money raised at over $60,000. With those funds, even more campus improvements are in the works. This time, though, the focus is on the elementary playground adding a sidewalk, new safety rubber mulch under equipment, and a shade-giving canopy.
Three-year-old kindergarten teacher, Dawn Lampkin says, “Recess is so much more than just playing. It gives these kids time to rest their brains and be with their friends. So much is learned by interacting on the playground. These new improvements are going to have our kids so excited about recess time.”
One of Mrs. Dawn’s students is already excited about recess. Ann Bryan Penn (3K) says, “I love to flip and play hide and seek,” and elementary PE coach Lisman Walker likes to hear that. “The shade from the canopy will be wonderful in August and September. Our ‘littles’ need to be outside as much as they are inside, and the new safety features will bring peace of mind to us teachers.”
With the exciting track upgrades and playground improvements to come, on top of recent enhancements to the baseball complex and gym, purchase of a new van, 1 to 1 Chromebooks (grades nine-12), Apple TVs in all classrooms, and climbing ACT scores, Canton Academy is poised for a promising future. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of what’s going on at Canton Academy. We are touring new students almost daily. We are a great balance of top-notch athletics giving students opportunities to be difference-makers while also challenging them in the classroom,” says CA Director of Admissions Jenny Wadford.