Centennial Celebrations & School Closures
Talk about highs & lows. This week, the Arlington School Board voted to close an elementary school to reduce the budget. The school is La Grange Elementary, where my children went. So many good memories at that school. My kids loved that school and all the teachers and great friends they made there. They can't believe it's happening. Neither can their friends.
They both went from kindergarten through 5th grade there. Learned their alphabets and numbers and how to play nice in the sandbox. They grew from wee little kids, singing songs and skipping rope, into these mature, confident, smart, young adults ready for middle school and beyond.
I'd spent a lot of time there as a volunteer, reading with kids and helping out with parties. I created my daughter's 5th grade yearbook when she graduated. It was, as it turns out, the second to last graduating class from La Grange.
Then, over in Fishkill, my old elementary school celebrated its 100th anniversary this weekend. One hundred years of teaching children! That's an incredible achievement. They had a big parade through the village ending at the school, and despite the rainy weather, everyone enjoyed the festivities. I got to see some old elementary school friends and toured the old 5th & 6th grade wing of the school. For Fishkill Froggers, this will be important - I very nearly rang the graduation bell but was foiled by the bell police! I bounded up those steps to the third floor where the 6th grade classes were and was amazed how many great memories came back to me.
I met up with my former 5th grade teachers, Mr. Powers, Mrs. Renza, 6th grade's Mr. Foley, and Fran the Librarian. It was like Mr. Rogers neighborhood but like...real.
It's sad that my kids won't have this experience when they're older. Where will they go to have an elementary school reunion? Will they rip the playground down? The murals on the walls? The plans are to change the classrooms to offices. It won't ever look the same.
I suppose, for my kids, the elementary school staff and teachers did what good schools do - teach children and get them ready for the rest of their school careers. I know more kids would've benefited from the inspiring teachers at LaGrange. I hope they all land on their feet somewhere.
The second budget vote is on Tuesday. I hope they pass it, for the kids.