A pride rock has rolled into Harlem Middle School.
Weighing about 11 tons - the equivalent of more than 180 eighth-graders - the granite boulder was donated by Rinker Materials last week and was set in place Friday.
"It will bring more joy to our school. We'll get to paint it and it will be a good place to announce people's birthdays," said Jamar Brisbon, a Harlem Middle eighth-grader.
Principal Walker Davis and physical-education teacher and athletic director George Berry visited the Rinker granite mine in Appling last week to pick out the rock, a task reminiscent of picking out a Christmas tree in a forest.
"It will give the students an opportunity to demonstrate their school pride - give them the change to show their stuff," Davis said.
Berry added, "It will be a nice focal point for the school and a means for them to show their school spirit in a positive way."
Rinker plant manager Chad Cornwell said he was happy to donate the stone.
"We have plenty," he quipped.
The mine often plays host to school tours and is soon planning an open house for the community. Donating the rock was one way the mine could show its community spirit, Cornwell said.
Driving along the mine's bumpy roads, Davis and Berry shopped for just the right stone. It had to be large - but not too large - and it had to have a flat side. What they found was a boulder that Cornwell estimates weighs about the same as the one the mine donated to Harlem High School 10 years ago.
Already, Davis had plans.
"We might have party and let those kids who made all As put their name on it," he said.
Other companies and people also pitched in to get the rock to the school. On Friday, Ken Ashe & Co. brought the rock on a flat-bed trailer. It was hoisted into place by Maxim Crane Works. Afterwards, Harlem city workers used a backhoe to fill in soil around it.
"It will show our competitive spirit. This is our first rock and it will show we're in touch with everybody," said eighth-grader Ky Arnold.
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