Written by Melanie Coretti and Olivia Morrissey |
Interviews by Melanie Coretti and Olivia Morrissey |
Photos by Melanie Coretti and Olivia Morrissey |
The Pierson School building was built in 1932 and houses grades four and five. The Pierson School serves as a bridge between elementary school and middle school. The 2018-19 school year is the last year the building will function as a school. The incoming fourth graders will remain at Lewin G Joel School, and the fifth graders will move to Jared Eliot Middle School.
Technology and Engineering teacher Lawrence Chapman, along with other students and staff from other Clinton Public Schools, is planning to build a Lego model of The Pierson School. It will be a model of the outside of the school, and the roof will be able to come off of the structure.
Mr. Chapman stated, “I got an email from Mrs. Madura from Pierson. She asked if I had any students that would be interested and able to build the structure. Sean signed up for the project. He came up with the idea to do it electronically.” Senior Sean Cockley is going to be using Lego software to order the pieces from the Lego website. The Lego company will receive the data and the number of each piece Sean will need. Once the pieces are delivered, Sean will create the Lego model. Mr. Chapman added, “It’s going to look like the actual colors of the school, similar to the bricks. Sean will come up with a CAD model of the custom parts and then fabricate them on a 3D printer. ” Mr. Chapman explained that the roof is going to be a difficult part, so they’re planning on using the printer for that. The end result will be a structure that’s about two feet in length.
Sean stated “Personally, I found out about the idea of making a Lego structure maybe a week before I was assigned the project. At that moment, I wasn’t really doing anything during class due to me waiting on our electric car’s body to be built. ”
He also added that the project will take about “another 2-4 months.” Sean also said, “The project is just on me at the moment, and I’m not sure if anyone else will be added to help physically build it.”
Former Principal of Pierson and current Principal of Joel Elementary School Angela Guirascio was principal of Pierson for 11 years. She stated that the Pierson School is closing because “there is a decline in enrollment in the district. It’s been going on for several years.” She also added, “These buildings cost a lot to run,” and there are parts of the school that are only occupied in the morning. Mrs. Guarascio made the point that “We’re not using our space, but we’re using our money to heat and power the school.”
Mrs. Guarascio was part of the Clinton Community Committee of Facility Needs who ultimately came to the conclusion that it would be best to close Pierson. According to Mrs. Guarascio, the group”Started in May 2018 till November. We worked through the summer till we decided to close Pierson.” She shared that “The decision wasn’t easy. There was a lot of thinking that went into it.” She stressed the point that “There’s a very, very close connection between students, staff, community, and families.”
This is Mrs. Guarascio’s first year at Joel. She stated that “In May of 2018, the district found out that Mrs. Norman was retiring, and the assistant principal was leaving. So Mrs. O’Donell asked me to come here, and I happily accepted.” She feels that she’s “come home to that age group,” since she started her career being a preschool and kindergarten teacher. “I’m enjoying it. I really am.” Some of her fond memories of Pierson include the Pierson play and Marine Science Day. She expressed that “the play has been really remarkable. Mrs. Nedderman, Mrs. Recine, Mrs. Duphily and Mr. Smith have done a remarkable job at bringing the community together.” Her plan for the future is to “maintain as many opportunities for grade four students as they would have had at Pierson.”
She also stated “I’m sad to see such a historic building close. It was great to be at a historic building. The staff is amazing there. I’m optimistic and hopeful for the future. The takeaway is what the teachers, families, and students create. It’s less about the building and more about the spirit of learning. It’s the spirit of the Pierson School. It’s a caring one.”