Photos and Article by Audrey Davis, SOUTH LAKE TABLET

On the morning of July 26th, a dedication ceremony was held in honor of Aurelia M. Cole in anticipation of the August 10th opening of the new school located on the former site of  Clermont High School and more recently Clermont Middle School. The K-8th grade Academy is located on East Avenue and Pitt Street.

The ceremony began with speeches from guest speakers, all of whom had nothing but optimistic outlooks regarding this new school. This list of presenters included the academy’s principal, Scott Voytko, Superintendent Diane Kornegay, School Board Chairman Marc Dodd, Clermont Mayor Tim Murry, and Commissioner Sean Parks- all of whom expressed the immense sense of nostalgia that this campus holds for so many of the area’s residents while also emphasizing the importance of having hope for the times ahead.

The final speaker was Danielle Cole Green, whose mother is Aurelia M. Cole, the namesake of the academy. Aurelia passed in 2018 but her legacy will live on.

This speech was a true testament to the spirit of both the school and Aurelia herself. In Green’s own words, “Today marks the beginning of a legacy. The evidence of progress and the promise of a bright future.” Aurelia’s legacy will live on through her family, including her two grandchildren who will attend the school beginning this year, but also the eternal story of her journey through life.

Aurelia Cole was a remarkable woman with a strong will and even stronger dedication to the betterment of the community, and this is evidenced by all those who attended the ceremony to celebrate her legacy. The common theme among each speaker was the testament to Aurelia M. Cole and the ideals upon which she lived, the same ideals that the academy is now being founded upon. Cole was an advocate for education, determination, literature, and uplifting the youth to the point of meeting their futures with courage, and this set of principles will certainly live on in the school bearing her name.

The ceremony then shifted into a tour of the innovative building itself which includes a cafeteria, a remarkable media center, small group areas, a culinary classroom, music rooms, an astounding gym, and many murals dedicated to inspiring students that will soon walk past them when the school opens its doors next month. This innovative academy clearly aims to look toward the future, and there is no better place to look for that than in the next generation of students.

VIDEO – A Glimpse At The Aurelia M. Cole Academy

Aurelia Cole was a lifelong resident of South Lake County. She became a teacher following in the footsteps of her parents and left a historic mark on the community by becoming the first African-American high school principal in Lake County. She taught at Clermont High School, was principal of East Ridge High School, and later served as assistant superintendent of Lake County Schools.

On July 5, 2018 after battling lung cancer, Aurelia, 69, died at the Mike Conley Hospice House in Clermont.

Previous articleSouth Lake High School Fall Football Preview 2023
Next articleLet’s “Clear The Shelters”