Darmstadt school says goodbye to host community
May 30, 2008
DARMSTADT, Germany — In another week, all that will remain of this military community’s schools are memories. The school wanted to make sure the last ones were good ones.
In one last hurrah Thursday, the Darmstadt elementary/middle school said goodbye to the city and the community with singing, dancing, stories and music — and a fair amount of sweat — in the heat of the former middle school’s gym.
Brittney Stinnett, who attended the school in first, second and third grades before the Army moved her family elsewhere, said during the closing ceremony that "wherever I went, I never forgot my Dragon spirit," referring to the elementary school’s mascot.
"On my first day of school I was afraid out of my mind," she said, bringing up a memory of first-day jitters that many students nodded along to. She was afraid she wouldn’t make friends and that nobody would like her. "Despite my fears, I was welcomed into the school by everybody, especially my principal, Dr. Claus," said Stinnett, referring to Russ Claus, a former elementary principal who left just before the elementary and middle schools merged last summer.
Claus and Liz Dunham, the former middle school principal, returned for the ceremony, along with the widow of a principal who’d served here in the 1970s.
In a skit, a handful of students listed off memories they’d take with them. One mentioned field day. Another brought up school dances, and another, the running club.
Walter Hoffmann, Darmstadt’s lord mayor, said he hoped they’d remember their time here "as a positive part of their lives."
"The Americans have enriched our lives in many matters," he said, adding he hoped Darmstadt had done the same for them.
The school closes for good June 6.