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.
Photo Gallery: Weekend’s fireworks, arts festivals go out with a bang
Thousands ventured into downtown New Castle Saturday for Day 2 of the Fireworks Festival featuring Arts on the Riverwalk. There, festival-goers found food and craft vendors, an artists market, children’s amusements, street performers and more.
Photo Gallery, Story: Passer-by finds downtown crusade timely
Does God care about the people of New Castle? Just ask Mitch. The Rev. Randy Crum of Vision Ministries was wrapping up his second downtown crusade in as many months, inviting members of his Riverwalk Park audience and even passers-by to step to the middle of the plaza if they loved and wished to praise Jesus.
Photo Gallery, Story: Annual Italian Festival provides sights, sounds, tastes of old country
The annual Italian Festival returned this weekend to Cascade Park. Traditional Italian and fair foods, as well as arts and crafts, carnival games, T-shirt booths and souvenir stands, lined the midway. Classic Italian music filled the park as Italian singers and bands took to the stage and sang and played a variety of styles.
Photo Gallery, Story: Church of Genesis food outreach celebrates five years of feeding families
Nothing much, director Freeda Grossman says, has changed in the five-year history of The Neighborhood Pantry.Still, there is one big difference.
Photo Gallery, Story: Junior vets enjoy learning about animal medicine
Local students are having fun learning about pet care and veterinary offices this week. Dr. Cynthia Maro of Ellwood City Animal Hospital at 728 Lawrence Ave., said about 130 students ages 6 to 16 are taking part in hands-on activities there this week to encourage interest in animals and maybe even inspire interest in a veterinary career.
Must-See Video: College recruiting a 9-year-old basketball star
Have we lost our minds? The University of Miami women’s basketball team is actively recruiting a fourth-grader. Yes, a fourth-grader!
Photo Gallery, Story: Southpoint celebrates Flag Day
Residents of Southpoint at Jameson took time out Saturday morning to honor the Stars and Stripes.
Photo Gallery, Story: New Castle native competes on ‘The Price is Right’
New Caste native Jeff Feola got his chance to “come on down” during an episode of “The Price is Right” that aired Thursday.
MUST-SEE VIDEO: ’Canes’ DVD makes a great Father’s Day gift!
Relive all the magic moments of the New Castle basketball team’s incredible run to a state title with a special package the New Castle News is producing. We’ve offering a pair of products to help you do just that.
Photo Gallery, Story: Neshannock rolls past Smethport in PIAA playoffs
Make it happen. That’s the philosophy Neshannock High’s softball team took into yesterday’s PIAA Class A first-round game at North Allegheny.
- More Photos-Video Headlines
- Photo Gallery: Weekend’s fireworks, arts festivals go out with a bang