“I will miss these walls” | Local News
The last day of class at Veterans Memorial Elementary School in Gloucester was anything but dark.
Although the lockers are empty and cardboard boxes line the walls to allow school children and staff to leave the Webster Street building one last time, young people eagerly sign yearbooks as teachers wipe away tears of gratitude.
“Veterans are truly a community school and we’ve always been proud of the way we build community,” said Amy Clayton, who has taught at the school for 27 years. “It really has nothing to do with the four walls, but with the commitment of our staff. ”
At the end of this school year, the school district will officially close the building as it prepares to consolidate students and staff from Veterans and East Gloucester Elementary Schools into a new building.
During the two years it will take the city to build another school at 11 Webster Street, the veterans community will be moving to the former St. Ann Catholic School at the corner of Pleasant and Prospect streets.
Kayden Palazzola, 9, a third year student, is delighted to be moving to St. Ann’s temporarily. But it’s not about the building.
“It’s about school, my friends, learning,” Palazzola said, explaining that his favorite things to learn are math and art. “But the gym class is my favorite.”
“The only thing I hate is that the bathroom is going to be on the first floor and we are going to be on the third,” he said. “I might as well jump down the stairs. ”
Each class was filled with excitement – and loose papers – as teachers spent their last minutes of the school year preparing children to embark on the big, adventurous, unknown.
As his teacher ran to each desk to make sure every child was packed and ready to go, 8-year-old Liam Barr sat at his desk all packed and patiently awaited the signal.
The school year, for Barr, has been “pretty good.”
“I’m going to Camp Spindrift with the Y this summer,” he said.
For fifth graders, their class will be the last to graduate from veterans.
11-year-old Ashllyn Francisco is ready for college.
“But I’m also a little nervous,” admitted the fifth-grader.
Jhorvel Velasquez, 11, was not entirely happy that it was his last day of school.
“I feel a little sad to leave this school because it’s like home,” he said, explaining that he had been at Veterans since kindergarten.
“Veterans, this is for you! Velasquez said, as he leapt into the air, gave his teacher a smile and rushed for the door.
For the past seven years, Principal Matt Fusco has led the charge at veterans and is now leading the move to St. Ann.
“It has been very emotional talking to the parents,” he said.
As Fusco made his official farewell over the intercom, the schoolchildren once more turned the corner of the hallway, heading for the door.
“I’m going to miss those walls,” said one child, looking at his classmate.
Editor-in-Chief Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705, [email protected] or on Twitter at TayBradford97.