NEW CASTLE —
Young eyes were wide with wonder.
Four- and 5-year-olds bundled in winter coats, hats, scarves and mittens got off school buses Wednesday morning and walked single file into a brand new school.
New Castle students got a late start Wednesday because of the unusually cold weather and kindergartners arrived at the new Lockley Early Learning Center just before lunchtime for their first day of school there.
Excited was an understatement.
“I want to stay here for the rest of my life,” one boy remarked as he, his teacher and classmates took a walking tour of the building.
Some children were happy to have lockers for their belongings.
They entered classrooms that have brightly colored furniture. Smartboards were turned on to show the weather forecast.
Before Christmas, the students were attending kindergarten at the former St. Joseph school on the East Side while the learning center was being completed.
Elementary principal Debbie DeBlasio oversaw Wednesday’s transition, which she said had surpassed her expectations.
“I’m so happy for our children.”
She also said she is proud of her brother, school board member George Gabriel, who had spearheaded the project when he was superintendent.
John Sarandrea, hired after Gabriel’s retirement, is overseeing the project to its finish.
Children in first and second grades will start classes in the building in September.
“It’s more than I expected,” said DeBlasio, whose office is inside the main entrance. The building was designed by Eckles Architecture.
“It’s very open, bright and the classrooms are very conducive to learning,” she said, adding, “No more tutoring in the stairwells.”
She was referring to a lack of space in the other elementary schools, which are to be closed later this year.
“It’s like a dream,” commented Lockley’s reading teacher, Lori Doran. “It really doesn’t seem real yet. It was a real thrill when the kids got here and you saw the looks on their faces.”
“This is beyond what I could ever imagine what a school would look like,” said kindergarten teacher Vicki Bober. “I’m extremely thankful to the former superintendent, the school board and Mr. Sarandrea for making this all happen.”
In the cafeteria, students were given a choice of chicken wraps or a sandwich. Fruit, salad and milk also were part of the menu.
Wooden trees that trimmed the cafeteria walls have colored knobs to represent fruit and serve as hooks for children’s coats as they enter school in the morning for breakfast.
Renae Cotelesse had her students seated in a circle on the floor at the front of her classroom for a reading lesson. They passed along a stone as each said in a full sentence what he or she liked about the new school. One girl liked the purple tables. Several liked their new lockers.
“The lockers are a big hit here,” DeBlasio commented.
NEW CASTLE —
Young eyes were wide with wonder.
Bounce Monday: 'Canes win, Neshannock falls in PIAA playoffs
The New Castle High basketball team improved its record to 27-0 with a first-round PIAA playoff win over Bethel Park, while the Neshannock High boys season ended with a loss to West Middlesex. Check out our game stories, photo galleries and video highlights on The Bounce!
Photo Gallery, Story: Union to present ‘Wizard of Oz’
Too nice. Too tall. Too funny.Actors in Union High’s musical production of “The Wizard of Oz” transformed and fine-tuned their personalities in preparation for tonight’s opening performance. The task presented challenges for director Diana M. Borowski’s cast.
Photo Gallery, Story: More than 75 jump in the lake during Polar Plunge
The temperature was 22 degrees. A cold wind blew across the frozen surface of Lake Arthur, while a winter sun darted in and out of gray clouds. Yet large crowds gathered at the edge of the ice, and on the signal, they all jumped into the lake.
Photo Gallery, Story: Wintry weather serves as a backdrop for Super Brew
Saturday’s snow created a chilly winter wonderland outside, but inside The New Englander Banquet Center things were heating up. For the fifth year in a row, Team Super Brew of the New Castle Relay for Life held its Super Brew event, which raises money for the American Cancer Society and Relay.
Video: 38th annual Bridal Fair and Expo
Lawrence County's 38th annual Bridal Fair and Expo attracted more than 1,000 to the Scottish Rite Cathedral on Sunday. More than 80 vendors were on hand, ranging from photographers to caterers.
Photo Gallery, Story: Kindergartners have first day at new Lockley
Young eyes were wide with wonder. Four- and 5-year-olds bundled in winter coats, hats, scarves and mittens got off school buses Wednesday morning and walked single file into a brand new school.
Must-See Video: Wrestling superstar delivers talk to 49ers
Whoo! That was the collective sound made by San Francisco 49ers fans everywhere following their team’s last-second win over Green Bay on Sunday.
Photo Gallery, Story: Present meets past as coffee opens in former department store
A former downtown department store today has new life as a coffee shop. The Confluence, a gathering place created by Cray Family and Youth Development Services, opened its doors yesterday in the one-time JCPenney store at 214 E. Washington St.
Photos, Video, Story: Pittsburgh Pirates visit local students
The Pittsburgh Pirates adopted the entire fourth-grade class at George Washington Intermediate Elementary School yesterday. It was a perfect match because it was obvious that the 220 students in the auditorium had clearly embraced the black and gold as their baseball team long ago.
Photo Gallery: Annual Ellwood City Christmas parade
Hundreds came “Home for the Holidays” to Ellwood City during the borough’s annual Christmas parade. More than 30 floats participated in the day’s procession, which started at Lincoln High School and wound its way through Lawrence Avenue.
- More Photos-Video Headlines
- Bounce Monday: 'Canes win, Neshannock falls in PIAA playoffs