By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe
On the morning of Thursday, June 8, 2023, Schoolcraft Elementary students surrounded the lower elementary building to say thank you and give one last literal “hug” to a building that has served Schoolcraft Community Schools well for over 50 years. Built in 1969, the building has seen thousands of students and staff learn, teach, grow and play.
This fall, the doors to a new elementary building will open. This will be a tremendous asset to the community for decades to come, but before students and staff moved on, they honored the past and said “thank you” before the doors closed for the last time.
Sara Howard, dean of students, came up with an idea, and, according to Matt Webster, Schoolcraft Elementary Principal and the district’s assistant superintendent, she was met with a resounding “yes!” by all involved.
Howard explains that the past few years have included countless hours of collaboration to build the new elementary school. Howard says, “Matt Webster has done an incredible job of guiding us through the vision of the new while keeping us connected to our past.”
And it was because of those connections to the past that Howard and Webster hoped to provide a path for students and staff to express their gratitude for the upper and lower elementary buildings. “It is important at the end of every school year to have moments of closure,” says Howard. “And this one needed closure of a special kind. We decided that something as simple as a hug gave us a way to close out decades of service of the buildings.”
Students and staff stepped outside together one last time to “embrace the significance of the lower and upper elementary buildings – spaces we were letting go of.” The thank-you hug also honored former students, staff and community and was a welcome to the change that is coming.
“It was a beautiful moment for our staff and students. You could feel the energy and appreciation in the air,” says Howard.