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The Telegram
  • Remington Elementary students, staff say goodbye to school

  • Hundreds of colorful balloons dotted the sky above the village of Ilion Thursday after being released by students, faculty and staff at Remington Elementary School.

    Many of their eyes glistened with tears over the realization of the school's closure.

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  • Hundreds of colorful balloons dotted the sky above the village of Ilion Thursday after being released by students, faculty and staff at Remington Elementary School.
    Many of their eyes glistened with tears over the realization of the school's closure.
    “It's hard,” special education teacher Kim Obreza said, choking up a bit. “Change can lead to wonderful things, but unfortunately we're leaving behind amazing things, too.”
    Thursday was the students' last day of school before summer break, and the teachers' last day was Friday - a day the village dedicated as Remington Elementary School Day.
    Remington now will close as the Mohawk and Ilion districts merge into the Central Valley Central School District. Students in kindergarten through fourth grades in the two villages will be split between Barringer Road and Fisher elementary schools.
    Central Valley district Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. said a transportation study that will determine the most effective way for buses to get to the two buildings.
    “August 1 is the goal for when parents and student will be notified” of which school they'll be attending, he said. “We can only do it as fast we can do it. It's not a process that can be thrown together.”
    Fifth through eighth graders will be combined to form Gregory B. Jarvis Middle School at the current Mohawk Junior-Senior High School. The remaining grades will be housed in Central Valley Academy - the current Ilion High School.
    Remington graduating sixth grader Brooke Newtown said she has siblings who are concerned about going to a new school.
    She said she tells them, “Things are going to be okay. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you get lost.”
    'Always in our hearts'
    Remington Elementary opened in 1977 after the closure of North Street and West Hill schools.
    It was this event that began the Birthday Club — a group of seven teachers who have spent decades celebrating one another's birthdays and forming close relationships.
    Many generations of students have gone through the school and some have even become teachers, said Margaret Haggerty, a club member.
    She taught multiple grades from 1971 to 2006, and now works part-time at Remington, having started out at North Street. Her daughter also works at the school.
    “It's not the building (we'll miss),” she said. “It's the nature of the people.”
    As for the future of the building? Mark Vivacqua, Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES district superintendent, said BOCES would like to rent the facility for educational purposes.
    Adult education as well as an alternative high school diploma program will relocate to the Remington school, he said, with the intent to call it Pathways Academy at Remington.
    Page 2 of 2 - “This is a great opportunity for the entire region,” he said. “We haven't been able to have the opportunity to have a building that we can basically turn into a high school building. This is a chance to bring them together.”
    Obreza said she'll continue her Remington spirit as a special education teacher at Barringer Road next year.
    “We are more than staff; we're family,” she said. “I hope the staff divided can bring along Remington and embed a seed of Remington everywhere we go.”
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