School marks its final year before merger
Stars and Stripes June 1, 2007
European edition, Friday, June 1, 2007
DARMSTADT, Germany â€” The effects of the Armyâ€™s drawdown in Europe were manifested once again Thursday as Darmstadt Middle School held a ceremony to commemorate its final year.
The middle school will merge with Darmstadt Elementary School in the fall, so when schoolâ€™s out for the summer at the middle school next week, that will be it. The move was announced in November.
Thursdayâ€™s ceremony was full of silliness, speeches, live music and endless allusions to principal Russ Clausâ€™ love of sardines. Claus ran the elementary school and will watch over the merged endeavor in the fall.
Between rollicking numbers by the school band and a clever play that showcased the history the middle school has amassed over the decades, various speakers alluded to the schoolâ€™s fine history and what the changes will mean.
Lt. Col. David Astin, the Darmstadt garrison commander, told the sixth- and seventh-graders who will be moving to the elementary school to treat the younger kids well, and that they are not there to be bullied.
Heidelberg School District Superintendent Elizabeth Walker recounted her time spent at the middle school. Walker was a counselor and a teacher there.
While it will be good to have all the grades together, next week will surely be melancholy for some, she said.
â€œI have a feeling that there is going to be a lot of tears shed here next week,â€ Walker said.
Outgoing middle school principal Liz Dunham said that Thursdayâ€™s program was all about consolidation and coordination, and that many members of the middle schoolâ€™s community had done their part to make the event go on. Consolidation of the two schools wonâ€™t be bad, she said.
â€œThis should be the smoothest transition on record,â€ Dunham said. â€œYouâ€™ll hardly notice the difference.â€