Soon the Discovery Bay dad will be preparing for another sentimental moment: the official dedication of the gym at Excelsior Middle School on Nov. 13.
“Joey’s family is truly grateful and honored to be able to see this become a reality,” said Graves.
Spc. Joseph A. Graves made the ultimate sacrifice for his country on July 25, 2006 in Iraq. He was 22. The former Discovery Bay resident attended sixth through eighth grade at Excelsior and graduated from Liberty High School in 2003.
“It was just a few short months after my son’s sacrifice that I was contacted by the school board with their desire to honor Joey,” he said. “We would invite the entire community to see not only the beautiful new campus, but be a part of the dedication to our fallen heroes and veterans of all eras.”
Funding for the new gymnasium – completed earlier this year – came from Measure C, the $19.7 million dollar school bond passed in 2006. District projects constructed, or slated for construction, include the installation of districtwide technology, renovated sports fields and bathrooms as well as a fourth/fifth-grade plaza project, an expanded kindergarten area and new fencing at Discovery Bay Elementary, a new pickup loop, extra parking and a fenced storage area at Timber Point Elementary, plus Excelsior’s new driveway that feeds into Byer Road.
As allocated by state law, Measure C dollars can be used only for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or replacement of school facilities and not for administrator or teacher salaries.
For Byron Union School District Superintendent Ken Jacopetti, being able to recognize one of the community’s hometown heroes is a gratifying honor. “It’s the very least we can do,” said Jacopetti.
“Joey went through school here in Byron and the Liberty district, and when I think about our youth and those that have given their lives protecting us, it’s just a real honor to be a part of this.”
The dedication will include the presentation of a plaque and speeches by local dignitaries. The official proclamation, which will be given to Graves, describes a young man who made an impact on his family, friends and community.
In the words of the official proclamation, “Friends and faculty members remember Joseph A. Graves as a fun-loving, spunky kid with a unique flair and an analytical mind who had the courage to think independently and to ask the hard questions in a constructive manner.”
The dedication begins at 7 p.m., is open to the public, and will include light refreshments. For more information, call 925-634-6644.