Colgate honors past, looks to future
Colgate Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA), sponsored a block party last Tuesday to say farewell to the old school building that was constructed nearly a century ago.
Because the site is too small to build a new school while the old one remains standing, Colgate Elementary students and staff will relocate to the Rosedale Center for two years while the new school is built.
Last week’s celebration was a time to look back, while also celebrating a new chapter for the school and neighborhood.
“We invited our current students and families, as well as anyone that lives in the neighborhood, taught or attended the school in the past,” Colgate Elementary principal Erin DiCello said.
“It’s time. It’s sad because we’ve watched it come and go, but it’s time,” former Colgate Elementary attendee Marie Blum said.
Blum’s mother attended Colgate Elementar y the first year it opened in 1924.
“My mother went here, I went here, my kids went here and now my grandchildren attend the school,” she added.
Colgate was a good school back in the day because everybody was friends, according to Blum.
“It’s bittersweet because I had fun here,” 20-year-old Austin Gill said as he walked the halls with his friends.
Former PTA president Walter Brown says he joined the ParentTeacher Association in 1984 because the school needed computers.
According to Brown, the school needed the technology but didn’t want to do any fundraisers or raffles to raise the money.
“I went to a meeting in August and got all the faculty there; there was an opposition with management,” Brown said.
“So, I took my baseball cap off and put the first $100 in,” he added.
Brown said he would continue to pass his hat around until they raised the money.
After that, the school decided to pitch in, sponsored raffles and anything else the could do, according to Brown.
Elmer Cropper attended Colgate Elementary from 1957 to 1963, back when elementar y school went from first to sixth grade.
One thing that stood out in Cropper’s mind vividly was the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
“All the teachers got called to the office and when my teacher came back, the tears were just streaming down his face,” Cropper said.
“They let school out early, and when I was walking home, everyone in the neighborhood was crying and upset; that’s something that I will never forget,” he added.
“It’s so many memories here; I had a lot of friends,” former Colgate lot of memories,” Elementar y teacher Linda Heath said.
Heath taught at Colgate from 1964 to 1983.
“When I came here it was just half a school, then they added more once the student population grew,” Heath said.
Heath reminisced about Colgate and how the principals were always so nice.
“I remember when the principals could smack the kids,” Heath said, laughing.
“I hate that they’re building a new school; I guess they have to,” Heath said.
“The walls are so thick; I always said if there is a hurricane, I’m heading to Colgate school,” she noted.
Students and faculty members are excited about the new and larger facility they are soon to get, according to DiCello.
The architects have requested memorabilia from long ago to incorporate into the new building, DiCello mentioned.
Colgate Elementary students and staff are excited about their new building.
Former Colgate Elementary teacher Linda Heath enjoys the block party.
PTA members threw a block party at Colgate Elementary to say farewell.