While the school has been open since August, Montgomery County Public Schools officially dedicated Hallie Wells Middle Schools last Saturday, May 13 with a joyous celebration of its first batch of students performing musical numbers with the school band and a taste of the schools’ theatrical production of Annie Jr.
Guests and dignitaries from around the County and the State joined members of Hallie Wells family as Montgomery County officially dedicated the 150,00 square-foot building named in honor of a Clarksburg residents who donated 290 acres of farmland to the County to be set aside as a park.
The school opened for students on August 29 and was the first new construction middle school in Montgomery County in 11 years. The school cost $52.8 million to build based on the Board of Education’s FY17 Approved Capital Improvement Plan.
Attending Saturday’s dedication ceremony were Dr. Jack Smith, Superintendent of MCPS, along with Dr. Judith Docca, vice president of the Montgomery County Board of Education, Maryland State Senator Nancy King (District 39), and County Councilmember Craig Rice (District 2), as well as representatives of Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressman John Delaney, and Gov. Larry Hogan.
However, the special guest was Ms. Brenda Graves, who is the great, great niece of Hallie Wells. “Children seemed to migrate to Aunt Hallie,” Graves told the audience, “She had the spirit that children could feel,” and later she added, “Words cannot express how honored and humbled she would be to inspire the future through the youth of today at Hallie Wells Middle School.”
Hallie Wells and her husband Ovid Hazen Wells were originally from Tennessee and moved to the District of Columbia in 1918. They retired from the federal government and moved to Clarksburg in the 1950s. The eventually accumulated 290 acres of farmland on the northern end of Skylark Road. In 1981, Hallie sold all 290 acres of this property to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission for just $10, according to the deed. This property is the park system in Clarksburg which bears the name Hallie’s husband.
The building was designed by the Calverton-based architectural firm of Grimm and Parker, who had previously designed the Music Center at Strathmore, as well as Lakelands Park Middle School in Gaithersburg, and the Wilson Wims Elementary School in Clarksburg. Wims will be one of the feeder schools for the new Hallie Wells Middle School.
Top: Principal Barbara Woodward, along with students and staff, as well as, Dr. Judith Docca, Dr. Jack Smith, Del. Charles Barkley (District 39), Del. Kirill Reznik (District 39), Del. Kathleen M. Dumais and members of the school naming committee cut the ribbon to officially dedicate Halle Wells Middle School.
Video: MCPS Moment covering the dedication of Hallie Wells Middle School.
Next: Hallie Wells Middle School students perform a song from their production of Annie Jr.
Next: Brenda Graves the great, great niece for Hallie Wells spoke about how honored her aunt would have been by the having a school named after her.
Photos by Stephanie Graves for Germantown Pulse. Video courtesy MCPS.