Com­mu­nity reded­i­cates Per­ryville Ele­men­tary School

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— The two-year ren­o­va­tion project at Per­ryville Ele­men­tary School saw the ad­di­tion of many fea­tures in­clud­ing an ex­panded gym, a new me­dia cen­ter and all the lat­est tech­nol­ogy.

But dur­ing the school’s reded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony, Prin­ci­pal Jen­nifer Ham­mer re­minded the stand­ing room-only crowd that the school’s most im­por­tant fea­ture didn’t need any ren­o­va­tions or up­dates at all.

“Be­yond the bricks and

PER­RYVILLE

mor­tar which were a part of the build­ing here at Per­ryville, there was one main thing that didn’t take any build­ing at all. It was here when the old build­ing was here and it’s here now,” she said. “And that’s the spirit of this school. It never re­ally left at all.”

That spirit was ev­i­dent on Thurs­day as cars lined May­wood Av­enue and the gym filled up early with stu­dents, fam­i­lies, cur­rent and for­mer staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers who had all come to cel­e­brate the newly ren­o­vated school. PVES re­opened in Au­gust af­ter two years in which stu­dents and staff were split be­tween Bain­bridge and Charlestown Ele­men­tary schools.

The school, which was first known as May­wood Ele­men­tary, was built in 1955 and orig­i­nally to­taled 13,000 sq. ft. Be­fore the 2014 ren­o­va­tion, the last ren­o­va­tion was in 1983 and the cur­rent school now to­tals nearly 70,000 sq. ft.

Dur­ing the re-ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony, many lo­cal and state of­fi­cials praised the

ren­o­va­tions and also spoke about the im­por­tance of com­mu­nity schools. Jil­lian Storms from the Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion pre­sented a state ci­ta­tion to dis­play at the school and Mary O’Keefe, rep­re­sent­ing Con­gress­man Andy Har­ris (R-1st district), pre­sented Ham­mer with an Amer­i­can flag that had flown over the capi­tol.

To­ward the end of the cer­e­mony, some of the school’s stu­dents sang “Brand New” by Ben Rec­tor and the Per­ryville High School en­sem­ble was also on hand to per­form the “Star Span­gled Ban­ner” as well as other songs.

Sev­eral lo­cal lead­ers also spoke, many of whom had per­sonal con­nec­tions to the school com­mu­nity. Su­per­in­ten­dent D’Ette Devine noted that she be­gan her county ca­reer just down the street at Per­ryville Mid­dle School back when it was the town’s high school and praised the big turnout for the cer­e­mony.

“CCPS did not ac­com­plish this alone. This was a com­mu­nity ef­fort and as such, is a source of pride to this com­mu­nity and ev­i­dence of its suc­cess,” she said.

Ce­cil County Ex­ec­u­tive Tari Moore also con­grat­u­lated the com­mu­nity, noted she was “blown away” when she turned onto May­wood Av­enue and saw the packed park­ing lot.

“I might get in trou­ble for this be­cause my son grad­u­ated from Elk­ton High School but you Per­ryville par­ents re­ally have it to­gether,” she said to laugh­ter from the room. “Your sense of com­mu­nity is re­ally an in­spi­ra­tion to me and rest of Ce­cil County.”

Moore ac­knowl­edged that while there’s never enough money to take care of ev­ery­thing that needs to be done, she’s in­cred­i­bly proud of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the county and school sys­tem. Dur­ing her ten­ure as county ex­ec­u­tive, Moore said she’s been lucky to be a part of three ma­jor school projects: the Ce­cil County School of Tech­nol­ogy ded­i­ca­tion, the PVES ded­i­ca­tion and soon, Per­ryville Ele­men­tary School Prin­ci­pal Jen­nifer Ham­mer speaks dur­ing the school’s reded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony on Thurs­day.

the ground­break­ing of the new Gilpin Manor Ele­men­tary School next month.

County Coun­cil­man Ge­orge Patchell was also pleased to be part of the cer­e­mony, which was a bit of a home­com­ing for him. Patchell at­tended the

school grow­ing up and sig­naled out his fifth grade teacher in the crowd for spe­cial praise dur­ing his speech. When the school closed for ren­o­va­tions, Patchell ad­mit­ted be­ing ner­vous about whether the new school would have the

same feel as the old one but said he’s been in­cred­i­bly im­pressed by the up­dates.

Per­ryville Mayor Jim Eber­hardt was also im­pressed by the ren­o­va­tions but had an ex­tra rea­son to ap­pre­ci­ate the re-open­ing of the school.

“Fourth graders, I missed you badly,” he said. “I’m go­ing to be back in Jan­uary and I’ll need your help on the ‘If I were mayor’ con­test.”

Ham­mer also em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of com­mu­nity in her clos­ing re­marks. She ended her speech by ask­ing dif­fer­ent groups of peo­ple to stand start­ing with the cur­rent staff, then for­mer staff, then cur­rent and for­mer stu­dents, PVES fam­i­lies and fi­nally, any­one who had sup­ported the school in some way.

By the end, the en­tire room was on its feet.

“Do you feel it now? Do you feel that Per­ryville spirit?” Ham­mer said. “Wel­come to Per­ryville Ele­men­tary ev­ery­one, wel­come to your school.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Per­ryville Ele­men­tary School Prin­ci­pal Jen­nifer Ham­mer asked dif­fer­ent groups of peo­ple to stand dur­ing her speech un­til, by the end, the en­tire room was on its feet.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Per­ryville Ele­men­tary School stu­dents sing a song dur­ing the reded­i­ca­tion of the school on Thurs­day.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

With her son Con­nor, 13, watch­ing, Linda Rea­gan signs the “Why I Walk” ban­ner Satur­day at the Out of the Dark­ness Walk held at the Ce­cil County Fair­grounds in Fair Hill.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Ev Mueller, or­ga­nizer of Satur­day’s Out of the Dark­ness Walk, sup­ports Shirley Mur­ray-Bailiff as she ad­dresses the more than 300 peo­ple who par­tic­i­pated.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Mary O’Keefe from Con­gress­man Andy Har­ris’s of­fice speaks dur­ing the reded­i­ca­tion of Per­ryville Ele­men­tary School on Thurs­day.

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