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'A sense of history'

Sign commemorates founding of Winter Street Elementary School

Sign commemorates founding of Winter Street Elementary School

January 10, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Mary Jane Auxt started attending classes at Winter Street Elementary in 1926. She remembers carrying her lunch to school every day, because in those days Winter Street didn't have a cafeteria. When it snowed, Auxt's father carried her to school.

Eighty years later, Auxt returned to Winter Street for the dedication of a sign arranged for the school by a newly formed Winter Street alumni group. The sign honors Winter Street's 1892 founding.

Tuesday's dedication was Auxt's first time meeting with the alumni group, but she is glad to meet new friends.

"It's taking me back to the old days," she said.

The alumni started meeting about a year ago, and asked school officials how they could help, alumnus Terry Mose said.

A sign for the front entrance ranked at the top of the school's wish list, said Bill Knode, another alumnus. Western Enterprise Fire Co. No. 4, in Washington Square, funded the sign.

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"They're very charitable," Mose said.

Winter Street Principal Matt Semler is pleased to receive the help.

"It's unheard of for an elementary school to have an alumni group. Maybe we'll start a trend here," he said.

No other elementary school in Washington County has an alumni group, said Carol Mowen, spokeswoman for Washington County Public Schools.

"They are assisting the school in a number of ways," Mowen said. "They're giving the school a good sense of its history."

Winter Street Elementary is the oldest operating elementary school, under the same name and at the same site, in Washington County. The school's building dates to 1953, with a renovation in 1973.

JoAnn Kendall attended Winter Street from 1940-45. She remembers the old building, set up high, with steps leading to the entrance. In what is now part of the school yard, houses used to face Washington Avenue, she said.

"I had a lot of fun going to school here," Kendall said as she described the two-level playground.

She kept in close touch with friends from Winter Street, and meeting as an alumni group is a great idea, she said.

"It's a way to show appreciation for what we received going to school here," Kendall said.

The alumni group wants to participate in a spring achievement ceremony for Winter Street's students and host an appreciation party for teachers, Knode said.

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