Farewell parties set at 3 departing elementaries

       Farewell parties are coming soon for three long-time Westside elementaries that will be closing after this school year.

Among the archives at Whittier Elementary School is this photo of the second-grade class from 1923. Numerous photos and other memorabilia will be available for perusal at the farewell parties being put on by Whittier (May 15), Washington (May 16) and Pike (May 16) elementaries.
Courtesy of Whittier Elementary

       Pike, Washington and Whittier elementaries were finalizing individual programs this week. Aspects that all will have in common are having activities for children; inviting current and former students, families and staff; and providing memorabilia from years gone by.
       Pike's will be Saturday, May 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a special ceremony at 2 p.m. The address is 2510 N. Chestnut St. The phone is 328-4600.
       Washington's will be Saturday, May 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., The address is 924 W. Pikes Peak Ave. The phone is 328-4800.
       Whittier's will be Friday, May 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. The address is 2904 W. Kiowa St. The phone is 328-4900.
       One former student looking forward to the Whittier bash is Jennifer (Hawley) Cipoletti, who met several lifelong best friends there and hopes to bring a “gaggle” of them with her. “We all met as kindergartners,” said Cipoletti, now a Peyton resident. “Everyone got involved in so many things. Those were good memories. Still to this day about eight of us hang around together.”
       Here are capsule summaries for each farewell event:
       Pike - Parent coordinator Joni Barta said activities will mostly be outside, with information tables and a “bouncy house” for kids. The rear playground and adjoining Pike Park will be used. People will be asked to come inside for the 2 p.m. ceremony, at which Principal Manuel Ramsey will speak and others who want to add comments may do so. The info tables that are confirmed at this time will address safety (Memorial Hospital), summer reading (Pikes Peak Library District) and science (Science Matters, which will use slime experiments). An ambulance and fire truck have also been requested, Barta said.
       “I look at it positively,” she said. “We'll all be together and celebrate the past. I'm just sad about the kids and that I won't see them anymore here at Pike.”
       Washington - A barbecue is planned in the school's playground area, but volunteers and donations of food or money are requested to help make it happen. “We just don't want to run out of food,” said first-grade teacher Angel Chavez, who expects as many as 500 people to come by.
       An open microphone will be provided “so people can say what they want,” she added.
       Music will be provided by the school band, led by instructor Rob Rodine.
       Whittier - A “high” point of the party will be the release of 108 helium balloons by 108 people, commemorating the school's construction in 1901. The idea is to put some kind of inscription on each of the balloons, according to Principal Marlys Berg, but that plan had not yet been finalized at press time.
       Also planned are bouncy houses for the kids (donated by a parent), cake and punch, tours of the building, memorabilia and a video of old school photos (“some going way back,” Berg said).
       She described the afternoon as an “open house” for the school where she's been principal for five years. “It'll be pretty low-key,” she said.
       The following week will have parties for the new Westside Elementary (May 18), closing/relocating Buena Vista (May 22) and relocating Bijou School (alternative high school) (May 22).

Westside Pioneer article