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Maugansville Elementary holds last open house in building

May 29, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

MAUGANSVILLE -- Flipping the pages of the worn photo album, Tom Ingram quickly recognized a familiar face.

It was a class photo taken of a group of students at Maugansville Elementary School. The proud boy with a grin on his face in the back row was his son.

The albums were full of pictures of other students -- many of whom Ingram knew by name. He was principal of the elementary school from 1979 to 1991.

During an open house Wednesday, Ingram and other former principals, teachers and community members talked about the school they worked in or grew up in.

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It was the last open house at the school, which was built in 1936. In just a few months, the school will be demolished to make way for a road leading to a new Maugansville Elementary School that is under construction behind the existing building.

Current Maugansville Elementary Principal Deborah Favinger said the open house was a chance to "take a look back" at the school's early years. Old photographs, documents and about 40 years of PTA literature were on display during the event.

The new Maugansville Elementary will open for students in August.

Norma Gaunt taught at the school from 1980 to 2004 and helped organize Wednesday's event. She said the school was the "heart" of the community and wanted to give the community, former teachers and administrators an opportunity to walk its halls one last time.

"When you spend 12 years of life at a school and it's not going to exist anymore, you want to reminisce," Ingram said.

Ingram was employed by Washington County Public Schools for 32 years before retiring. He is a professor at Frostburg (Md.) State University.

He and his wife, Karen, still live in Maugansville, where they have been since 1972. The couple's two children, Bryan Ingram and Sandra Ingram-Speakman, attended the school.

Merle Cornelius' four children also spent their early years in the halls of Maugansville Elementary School. He served as its principal for three years in the 1970s, and described it as the "epitome of a community school." Wednesday was the first time he had been in the building in 29 years.

"I have a lot of respect and love for the school," Cornelius said.

As some of those who attended Wednesday's open house saw, boxes are lined up in the school's halls. They are filled with books and other items that must be packed soon to be taken to the new building.

Looking into the Maugansville Elementary library, the bright blue shelves that Cornelius built during his time at the school are now empty.

"Those shelves are still there," he said. "I bought the lumber, and I built those shelves."

Randy Schultz served as Maugansville's principal after Cornelius, and described it as a "very, very special school."

"This community embraced this school," he said. "It was a really special place."

Schultz retired from Washington County Public Schools about five years ago after 32 years of service.

"I'm sad to see the school go, I suppose," he said. "But the next generation of kids will be happy to have a new facility."

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