OldArchive / The Way I See It

New School Will Bring Lasting, Positive Changes

 

Here’s hoping that a good segment of our community will accept the Wyalusing Area School District’s invitation to attend the open house at the new elementary school next Monday evening, Aug. 22, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The open house and ribbon cutting will be a milestone event, marking the culmination of a project that spanned 18 months in its construction phase and cost $27.5 million.

If you’ve yet to see this impressive new school, do yourself a favor and take a tour.  You’ll quickly see that our community has been blessed with a marvelous, state-of-the-art facility that will continue to serve our students for generations to come.

And when you’re driving through the expansive Max P. Gannon Campus on your way to the new school, don’t fail to take notice of the remarkable complex that has developed over the years. The new access road offers a perspective of the school grounds that’s bound to impress you. The athletic fields, Peterson Stadium, the high school and, of course, the new elementary school make quite a statement about the priority our community places on developing the minds and bodies of our children.

I can remember the days back in the early 1950’s when John R. Welles’s white-faced Herefords grazed in the fields where the school buildings and the athletic fields are now located. It was District Superintendent Max Gannon who spearheaded the movement to consolidate a number of smaller school districts into what is now the Wyalusing Area School District. The result was the construction of a new high school on land purchased from Welles. Since then the high school has been expanded several times, and now the new elementary school is the centerpiece of this impressive complex.

One-room schools are often looked upon as relics from our distant past, but when Max Gannon began the consolidation effort there were dozens of one-room schools dotting the countryside. I attended elementary school in Wyalusing with youngsters who began their education in a one-room school and later were transferred to the school on Wyalusing’s Church Street as the district consolidation progressed and the one-room schools closed. One of those students was current school board member Larry Franklin who will be taking part in Monday’s ribbon cutting at the new elementary school. Larry attended the Oak Hill School. That gives him a perspective on local education—from a student in a one-room school, to board member ushering in a new dimension in elementary education—that only a handful of others share. By the way, today Larry likes to tell folks about how he was number two in his class at the Oak Hill School, but he follows up by explaining that there were only two first graders at the school, Larry and his classmate Jay Ross.

Attend Monday’s open house and you’ll quickly see that the new elementary school is a huge asset to our community for which we should be thankful and proud. The school will be an economic plus to the community of Wyalusing, too, bringing hundreds of people to our town who might not have come here otherwise. Existing businesses should see more customers, and you can expect to see new businesses open their doors.

The opening of our new elementary school is a monumental change for the community of Wyalusing, and I have to think that if he could be there at next Monday’s open house, Max Gannon would have a huge smile on his face. It was his vision, perseverance and dreams that made the Wyalusing Area School District a reality, but I suspect even he would be astonished by how far we’ve come.

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