CMSD is taking Paul Revere School out of service after a 92-year ride, but the Raiders are going out on a high note.
Students, staff, volunteers and alumni gathered in the gym Wednesday for an upbeat “concluding ceremony.” The last eighth-grade class, dressed in graduation gowns, stole the show with old-school dance moves displayed to Kool & The Gang’s “celebration.”
Paul Revere, located near East 116th Street and Union Avenue, and Buckeye-Woodland School on Buckeye Road will both end runs Friday.
The District is building and remodeling schools to provide a 21st Century education but also adjusting for declining enrollment. Paul Revere had 1,500 to 1,600 students in the 1970s, according to then-Principal Harold F. Ellis, but the number now stands at about 320.
Principal Christopher Myslenski and the Paul Revere community decided to bid farewell with a commemoration of the school’s legacy. Myslenski said he and most, if not all, of the 15 or so teachers, have found new homes with the District.
“I think our staff is OK and is looking forward to new beginnings,” he said Tuesday afternoon.
The two-story block of brick has stood strong through a long stretch of US. history, Myslenski told the crowd Wednesday: the Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War, a moon landing.
Searches did not turn up a lot of artifacts to display at the event and most were recent. The first five decades were represented only by a photo of activity at the building and an oil portrait of the school’s namesake, both from the 1930s.
That’s OK, those who left around for the goodbye party have their memories to cherish.
School cook Cynthia Foster worked at Paul Revere for 25 years and sent four of her children to the school. She chose to stay after completing paralegal studies in 1994.
“I love my babies,” she said of the students. “A lot of the children here now, their parents went to school with my children. It’s like a big family. A part of my family is going to be missing.”
Teacher Diane Ehlert arrived 18 years ago and has taught in five different grades, most recently the second. She has landed a position at Denison School on the West Side.
Denison is closer to the West Side suburb where she lives, but she liked being a consistent presence in the lives of students. She said the day she learned of the decision on Paul Revere, she cried all the way home
“I never once in 18 years ever thought about leaving,” she said during a break from teaching Tuesday. “I felt like they needed me here. I’m hoping I made a difference and put my stamp on the kids.”
Kalli Allen attended Paul Revere from kindergarten through eighth grade. She graduated from CMSD’s Cleveland Early College this year with an A-plus average and was honored as one of the 50 top-performing scholars in the District by the Cleveland Foundation and College Now Greater Cleveland.
Kalli will go to Albion College in Michigan, study psychology and education and has her eye on a possible career as a school counselor. She told the current students that she “learned my most valuable lessons here” and will “miss it dearly.”
“It was a place where the teachers cared about you,” she said afterward. “They saw when you struggled and helped you along the way.”