On Sunday, September 30, at 2 p.m., the Gwinnett County Board of Education and CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks will join students, faculty, and community members as they officially dedicate Paul Duke STEM High School. The school, which opened in August and serves more than 600 students in grades 9-11 this year, offers a rigorous and engaging STEM curriculum infused with technology.
The formal program begins at 2 p.m., followed by a reception and tours of the school. In addition to remarks from Principal Dr. Jonathon Wetherington, the program includes District III Board of Education Member Dr. Mary Kay Murphy; the mayors of both Norcross and Peachtree Corners—Craig Newton and Mike Mason, respectively; Fraser Duke, who is the son of Paul A. Duke; CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks; and the school’s first PTA President, Andrea Antonowich. A clusterwide celebration, the dedication ceremony incorporates students from nearby schools with the presentation of colors by the Norcross High School Army JROTC and the singing of the national anthem by the Pinckneyville Middle School Chorus. In addition, the day will feature a performance from the Paul Duke STEM High School Orchestra, directed by Laura Wood, and an inspirational video produced by the school’s Student Video Team.
As a theme high school, Paul Duke STEM High School has benefitted from the assistance of a 30-member advisory board comprised of professionals in the technology and engineering fields, community leaders, and school district support staff. The work of this team helped establish a framework that the inaugural faculty and staff have brought to life for students.
In addition to celebrating the opening of the new school, the day stands as a tribute to the man whose name the school bears— Paul A. Duke. Mr. Duke was a visionary whose commitment to improving this community earned him the affectionate title as the “Father of Peachtree Corners.” He led the development of Technology Park, creating an economic engine that sits in the heart of the community he loved. His legacy continues today and it is fitting that his name be associated with a high school that focuses on technology, prepares students for the future, and serves the community he committed himself to whole-heartedly.