Fond farewell

SINCLAIRVILLE – As the school year winds down, Cassadaga Elementary School’s faculty, staff, current and former students as well as the village itself are struggling to come to terms about the closing of the school and to say a proper farewell.

A sampling of the Cassadaga Elementary School community – faculty, staff members, present and past students and friends of the school – about 20 strong sang farewell to Cassadaga Elementary School at this week’s meeting of the school board. The effort was coordinated by Laurel Scudder, a first-grade teacher at the school. A notice of the effort appeared on the school’s website recently. The purpose was to “bid farewell to this building that has played such an important part in our lives!”

Prior to the board meeting, those planning to sing practiced the song in the chorus room. Scudder handed out sheets of paper with the lyrics. The music is America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee). Participants socialized before singing, exchanged hugs. A few run-throughs was enough, and as more people arrived, harmony was added.

At the meeting Scudder explained the song was written in 1998, when the school housed grades kindergarten through fifth. Amy Raynor, the guidance counselor at the school, thought a song would help with the character education curriculum.

Nicole Zenns, the music teacher, along with students Jeff Kozlowski, Natalie Straight, Mary McLaughlin and Malcolm Shevlin prepared the song.

The song was sung over the Public Address system in the school each school day. The character education curriculum at the time encouraged students to both learn about positive character traits and to exhibit them in a practical way. Practicing character traits explains the reference to “second step” in the lyrics. The classes would do community projects, such as raising money for a specific charity.

Comments on this article may be directed to dchodan@observer