SHEPHERDSVILLE - The new Roby Elementary school building was built upon a strong foundation.
During its 50-plus years of history the school continues to improve upon efforts made by former principals and teachers.
The importance of that foundation was recognized during an official open house ceremony to showcase the new school facility.
Roby’s first librarian, Louise Terry, received the highest honor during the ceremony, with Roby’s new media center named the Louise Terry Library.
Terry viewed the new facility for the first time during the open house. She said the state-of-the-art area was beautiful and a major improvement from a small office and stack of books she used to create Roby’s original library more than 50 years ago.
“I’m 83 and that just got me,” Terry said of the surprise honor. “I’m just speechless.”
“If she’s not talking, she’s in shock,” said husband and long-time Bullitt County educator Raymond Terry.
Roby principal Gayle Korfhage said it was vital for a school community with such a strong past to implement its history into a new building.
“The main idea tonight is a connection to the past, to our heritage,” said Korfhage. “It’s an important part of what Roby is.”
Another special honor revealed during the open house was the dedication of six trees in front of the school building placed in honor of former educators.
The honorees included the school’s namesake, Ora L. Roby, Bullitt County superintendent from 1911-35. Korfhage said Roby served 47 years in Bullitt including stints as teacher and principal.
Other honorees were Dr. Billy Horrell, principal from 1961-66; Woodrow Masden, principal from 1966-74; Larry Belcher, principal from 1992-96; Delores Valentine, teacher from 1970-89.
Also honored was former principal Ronald Murphy (1974-92), who attended the ceremony. Korphage recognized Murphy as Roby’s longest-tenured leader.
Korphage announced that Valentine was selected as an honoree to represent all Roby teachers throughout the school’s history.
“She was my teaching supervisor,” said Korphage. “She knew the art of teaching, not just the science. She was a natural teacher.”
Many of Valentine’s family attended the event in her honor including daughter Kim Sego, assistant principal at Pleasant Grove Elementary.
Superintendent Keith Davis was the guest speaker during the event, discussing the importance of tradition and education. School board members joined Roby students to cut a ceremonial ribbon.
Other special guests included Sam and Bill Hardy, representing Ora Roby, their uncle.
“Uncle Ora was a special uncle to all of us,” said Sam. “We’d spend nights with them if we were in town.”
Among other traits, Sam recalled his uncle as both conservative with money and a true disciplinarian.
“He’d frown when Aunt Cora gave us coins,” Sam laughed. “He was strict. He’d straighten you out in a minute.”
Siblings Dann and Dr. Penny Masden attended the open house for their father, Woodrow. Penny is a middle school principal in Bowling Green.
“It’s great to see the new school,” said Penny. “Having the trees here is really neat.”
“Everyone in our family is a teacher but me,” Dann said. “Mr. Roby was a second cousin.”
State Rep. Linda Belcher, representing her late husband Larry, was also a Roby student when the school first opened. She was impressed with the new facility’s upgrades.
“We had to put coals in stoves when I was here,” she recalled. “But it was a great school then, and it’s a great school now.”
Linda said Larry would’ve been proud to receive the special honor.
“He loved Roby,” she said. “He would’ve enjoyed being here for this. He worked so hard on improving it. This building would’ve been icing on the cake.”
Linda was pleased with the school’s new media center and the pod system, grouping classrooms in specific individualized areas. She added that the best part of Roby was not the facility itself.
“Roby is about the people and the community inside it,” she said.