HARDING —Annie Karcutskie always spends the last day of school visiting Sarah J. Dymond Elementary, and Friday marked her last visit.
The Wyoming Area School Board voted to close the school back in April, citing failing or deteriorating infrastructure was too costly to repair.
The elementary alum and current Wyoming Area High School student said some of her best memories are from the Harding-based building.
“I’ve been coming back here since the year after I left,” said 16-year-old Karcutskie. “Any chance I could get to come back, I would.”
School aid Andrea Karcutskie, Annie’s mother, said their entire family has come and gone through the elementary doors — from Andrea’s mother to Andrea’s two daughters, Annie and Carmella, who just finished fifth grade.
Eleven-year-old Carmella was happy to have spent her elementary years at Sarah J. Dymond and looks forward to what awaits her at Montgomery Avenue Elementary in West Pittston.
As per the new center-based model for the 2016-17 school year, kindergarten will be taught at JFK Elementary School in Exeter, grades 1-3 at Tenth Street Elementary School in Wyoming and grades 4-6 at Montgomery Avenue.
Despite her excitement, Carmella was sad to see her family tradition end with the school’s closing.
“I’m really, really upset (the school is closing) because I’ve been here all six years,” she said. “I was really sad to just leave anyways just being in fifth grade. My sister was here as well all six years, my parents went here, my grandparents went here and (school secretary) Mrs. (Toni) Scalzo is actually my aunt.”
The remaining students and faculty held back their tears to celebrate Sarah J. Dymond Elementary School’s last day.
Students gathered in the cafeteria to sign yearbooks, dance and make crafts. They also had free rein in the school before the 12 p.m. dismissal, ensuring they were able to say goodbye to as many friends and faculty as possible.
Faculty members kept smiles on their faces while blowing up balloons.
“Rather than be sad, we’re going to celebrate the end of the school,” said Scalzo, an employee at Sarah J. Dymond for the last 42 years. “We are definitely going to miss it big time. We’ve always been like a family here.”
Lisa Hogan, a first grade teacher at the school for 25 years, said the last week of school was “bittersweet” but the teachers haven’t had much time to grieve.
“We’ve been so busy packing, we haven’t had a lot of time,” she said. “The end of the year is always such a busy time to begin with. The paperwork and getting the kids all of their things back — I haven’t had time to sit and talk with anybody. But, I know everybody who’s been here is sad that the building is closing. It’s a nice building.”
Hogan will be teaching first grade at Tenth Street Elementary next year and she already picked out her new classroom.
She looks forward to the new challenges that await her.
“(I’m looking forward to) a different mixture of children because they’ll be from different areas,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a new environment and starting some new traditions.”
Fourth grade students Alyvia Yatsko, 10, and Ryan Martin, 10, will both attend Montgomery Avenue next year.
Martin said he was disappointed to not finish out his elementary years at Sarah J. Dymond.
“I was really hoping to be able to finish here,” he said.
The two students agreed they are excited to stay with their normal classmates and meet new friends along the way, but one thing Yatsko is not looking forward to at her new school is navigating the larger building.
“I’m kind of excited, but I’m kind of not in the same way because there’s a lot of walking in that school and a lot of stairs,” she said. “But, the good part is we have our own gym and I’ll still see (my friends) at recess and have some classes with them.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher