Students returned to the classroom last week in what most around town would consider a new beginning.
But at Bancroft Elementary School, it was the beginning of the end.
This time next year, the buzz of Bancroft student life will hum in a new home — the new Bancroft Elementary School, built literally yards away from the old. At that point, most, if not all, of the existing school will be gone, razed right to the ground.
“There’s that end of the year that’s going to come, and we’re going to realize that this Bancroft isn’t going to be open anymore,” Principal Malcolm Forsman said. “There are going to be some of the last times that traditions happen.”
Bancroft is known for its traditions as much as it is known for its open-space design, where one classroom spills into the next and the second floor peers down onto the first.
The layout has created its fair share of annual festivities, some that the faculty say they’ll take with them when they leave.
Fifth-grade teacher Claire Touseau cites the annual holiday sing-along as an example.
“If you can imagine, two or three grade levels are sitting on the floor of the Media Center, and then the upper grades are surrounding it (on the second floor), and we’re all singing,” Touseau said. “The kindergartners have their little reindeer hats on and their Rudolph noses. It’s just very sweet.”
Motioning in the direction of the new Bancroft, located in front of the old, Touseau added, “I don’t think you’ll be able to recreate that over there.”
As bus after bus dropped off students for the first day of class last Wednesday, Aug. 28, 37-year veteran Bancroft teacher Debra Nichols became quiet as she stood between the old and new schools and reflected on the significance of the day.