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At least three things have remained constant at Emma B. Ward Elementary since its doors opened in 1975 - Geri Reinle, Karen Allen and a painting of Ms. Ward herself. And those three things will be a part of the new Ward elementary school when it opens this fall.
Reinle started out teaching physical education, moved onto fifth grade and now serves as the school's gifted and talented teacher, Allen said. Allen is the school's librarian and resident historian, according to Principal Amanda Ellis. And the painting of Ms. Ward has hung in the school since its presentation from the Kavanaugh Alumni Association in October 1975.
When the school opened that year, the building wasn't complete, Allen said.
"The back wing and the cafeteria weren't finished," she said. "They brought food in from other schools, like a bag lunch. The gym wasn't finished either."
David Malone, who is now deceased, was the school's first principal, Allen said.
Allen is related to Ms. Ward, who always introduced Allen as her "husband's grandniece," Allen said.
When it was announced that a new school would be built, Allen said a contest was held to name the building. The winner of the contest would be submitted as suggestion to the school board, she said.
"Emma B. Ward was one of the choices," Allen said. "I think it won."
Students, faculty, teachers who retired from Ward and community members will say goodbye to the current Ward building on the last day of school, this Friday, May 23, at 2:30 p.m.
The students will go out in style as members of the community are invited to line the halls for a Clap Out - which is just what it sounds, Ellis said.
Those lining the halls will start a round of applause as the students - decked out in tie-dyed T-shirts - load the buses for the last time at the Broadway building.
Everyone is invited, and parking will be available on the playground beginning around 2:15 p.m.
"We'll clear out the playground early," Ellis said.
Visitors will need to sign in at the front office, she said. A reception for the retired teachers is planned after the students have left the school.