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.
- TOP STORIES
Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens
Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.
Council OKs funds to remove dead trees
New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.
Photo Gallery, Story: Night light
The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.
'State Fair' coming to Playhouse
The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.
DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged
Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.
Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire
A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.
John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.
Tanner, district attorney: No comment
The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.
Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo
The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.
Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo
Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.
- More TOP STORIES Headlines
- Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens