Barhite: Basic functions best part of new Lake schoolWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | email@example.com
When the June 5, 2010, tornado tore through my husband’s Lake classroom, two fragile items survived the killer storm.
A framed photo of me on our wedding day and a glass globe I had purchased for him when we were just dating.
When the media got their first look at the new school Aug. 1, both of those mementos were in his new social studies classroom.
The photo no longer has a front pane of glass and is speckled with dirt and scratches – a fitting tribute to the two-year journey of rebuilding a school and a community devastated by the tornado.
Surprisingly, the globe is in perfect condition – a fitting tribute to the pristine high school that will open for classes Aug. 21.
Returning to the new school will be senior Casey Blank, a member of the family I chronicled for a year after the tornado. Casey had just finished his freshman year when the storm destroyed his high school, killed his neighbors and leveled his Millbury house.
Casey spent the past two years in an Owens building that the Lake Flyers affectionately called “The Hanger.”
I didn’t attend Media Day. I won’t attend the open house for the public Aug. 5. I don’t need a tour of the school; I already had one. I don’t need sound bites from the superintendent; I have talked to him many times. I don’t need to revel in the excitement because I know firsthand how much this means to the district.
While the journalists who took the tour noticed the overhead projectors in all the classrooms, the grand entryway, the shiny gym floor, the color-coded hallways and the far-reaching windows, teachers and students who spent the past two years in “The Hanger” will appreciate these basic features the most.
- The new school has hallways that are wide enough for kids to navigate comfortably.
- The new school has a gymnasium where actual gym classes can be taught. For the past two years, high school students had to keep a log of activities to earn a gym credit.
- The new school has a cafeteria where food can be prepared on campus instead of bringing in the meals each day.
- The new school allows for teacher access before work, after work and on the weekends to grade papers and prepare lessons.
- The new school has a theater for plays and musicals. Students performed at Mainstreet Church in Moline.
- The new school has facilities for indoor sporting events. Basketball and volleyball were hosted at the Owens’ Student Health and Activities Center. Wrestling was at Walbridge Elementary.
- And most importantly, the opening of the new school will allow teachers and students to be in the news for this momentous event — and then hopefully be non-newsworthy and normal for a while.