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Darius Goes Back To School

November 16, 2008

Quote(s) of the day: “Darius was a really good artist…he had a bit of a stubborn streak, I remember.”

“I remember helping Darius select books in the media center, and that was always very special for me.:

“The thing I remember most is his infectious smile.”

“I’m just so proud of Darius and all the things that he’s done, and he’s grown into a wonderful man.”

–Teachers from Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School, Darius’s alma mater

Next up, Darius and crew dropped by Athens’s own Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School (OAES). Students came out to welcome some of their own!

OAES has a special connection for many of the Darius Goes West crew. Darius and his brother Mario both attended Oglethorpe.

Crew members Ben Smalley, Logan Smalley and John Harmon were Oglethorpe Wildcats as well.

Not only did several crew-members attend Oglethorpe, but they also worked at the after-school program several years ago.

John, Ben, Logan and D got to see some of their old teachers, and a few teachers who taught other crew members had transfered to Oglethorpe over the years. There were even classmates from the crew’s past who are now members of the faculty at Oglethorpe!

Perhaps most relative to DGW’s past, Project REACH (now Project START)–the site where Darius met most of the crew–was held at Oglethorpe for quite a few years.

With all these connections, our visit to Oglethorpe was as nostalgic as it gets.

Superintendent James Simms (right) was there to welcome us,

and the kids decorated colorful spinning wheelchair rims in honor of our visit.

Led by instructor Ms. Dunn, principal Dr. Scarlett Dunn, and the 3rd-grade Team, each wheel served to raise money to fight DMD.

In the middle of the ceremony, the student body surprised Darius with a HUGE check!

Way to go, Wildcats!

We had a great question-and-answer session with students. It started with Darius’s former teachers taking the stage and telling stories about Darius.

Ms. Tiller, who also taught Mario, said, “I remember Mario told me, ‘my little brother Darius is going to be your student, and he’s bad, bad, bad!’”

It was a real treat for the students…and for us!

Darius and the crew LOVE going to schools, and it was especially resonant to spend time at OAES, the school that shaped so many of us.

Thank you so much, Ms. Dunn, Dr. Dunn, Mr. Simms, Ms. Tiller, and Oglethorpe Elementary faculty, staff, and students!

Goooo, Wildcats!!!


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