School ends with smiles, hugs and even a tear or two

June 19, 1994|By Carol L. Bowers and Dana Hedgpeth | Carol L. Bowers and Dana Hedgpeth,Sun Staff Writers

As Pasadena Elementary School Principal Rocco Ferretti was busy opening a farewell present, third-grader Courtney Ryan looked at a visitor and said, "He loves me more than pizza and chocolate chip cookies."

Then there was Sallie -- with an "i" and an "e" -- who gave him the book she entitled, "52 Reasons Mr. Ferretti is a Great Principal."

And Scott Sturgeon, an 11-year-old fifth grade "graduate," who said he thought Mr. Ferretti was the greatest because "he thinks it's fair for everybody to sit where they want at lunch."

Mr. Ferretti, who takes over at Bodkin Elementary School next year, said goodbye to his Pasadena students on a steamy Friday morning.

He spent the last day of school doling out hugs, kisses and "I love yous" and collecting presents.

Retiring school secretary Dodie Martin, for whom the school's driveway is now named, wiped tears from her eyes as she watched her 18th set of fifth-graders graduate to middle school.

Fifth-graders ran amid proud parents, darting from friend to friend collecting addresses while younger students blew bubbles in the schoolyard with thoughts of vacation dancing in their heads. Other students, though, had a hard time saying goodbye.

"When I had the assembly and announced I was leaving, Courtney came in my office and stood like this," Mr. Ferretti said, crossing his arms and tapping his right foot and glaring slightly.

"She said, 'Why are you retiring?' I told her I was just going to work at another school, and she said, 'Why are you leaving me?' I've been principal here for five years. It's hard to leave, but I'll be working at a good school next year, too."

Meanwhile, at Parole Elementary School, the teachers were eagerly preparing to return to their newly renovated school. For them, Friday was a hot and sweaty packing day.

"I feel like I just got here," said Andrea Jones-Horton, Parole's school librarian. "Some things I've never unpacked. It's all worth it, though." Ms. Jones-Horton had just packed her 57th box of books as of 11 a.m. Friday.

"It's been rough, moving back and forth, but it's all worth it," she said.

Temporarily housed in a wing of Annapolis Middle for about 18 months, Parole is moving "home" to a school that now has real walls dividing classrooms, air conditioning, a gym and a television monitor in every classroom.

Students at Parole got out of school three days earlier than the rest of the county's estimated 70,000 students so the faculty could take down bulletin boards and box up the school's belongings.

Teachers and administrators toured the renovated Parole Elementary Thursday and, just as children sometimes do, put their hands and initials in the wet cement of the sidewalk.

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