After 14 Years, Elementary Program Has a Home

December 11, 2019 / Andrea Wenger
EMES students move some supplies into the school before the big move.
EMES students move some supplies into the school before the big move.

A little over 14 years after Eastern Mennonite Elementary School first opened its doors in a church basement to welcome its first 25 students, 94 students grades K-5 walked in the door of the school’s first permanent facility.

December 10 was a day of excitement and settling in, a few bumps, but mostly celebration.

“The children were so excited but also ready to get back into their routines and lessons,” reflected Maria Archer, K-8 principal who has been with the program since its inception in 2005. “We’ve been unsettled for some time leading up to the move and they are ready for their new home!”

The mid-year move into the newly renovated building on Route 42 adjacent to the school’s long-time middle and high building, came after a little over a year of transition. Last academic year and the first months of this school year, the K-5 program shared space with grades 6-12.

On Friday, December 6, students of all grades were off while teachers and staff from all divisions worked together to move all the classrooms. Earlier, students had taken backpacks of supplies to their new rooms and parent volunteers moved desks and furniture.

Chapel of Thanksgiving and Appreciation
The day before the move, K-12 students recognized and thanked the many local businesses, vendors, professionals, and tradespeople who were part of the building renovation during a special chapel. Prayer and a litany provided time to thank God for many blessings in this process. Nearly 30 sub contractors were on the stage for the recognition.

It was also a time for the older students to thank and bless the younger students in their transition. The group participated in the following litany.


Mrs. Archer (K-8 principal):
For teachers and students grades 6 to 12,
For custodial, dining hall, library, business and office staff
Who made plans, made room, and said “Welcome!”


Mr. King (high school principal):
For teachers and students grades K-5
Who packed and sorted and made a big change.
Who said goodbye to their woods and hello to a new building…


Mr. Stoltzfus (director of business affairs):
For architects, contractors and project managers,
For drivers, excavators, floor finishers and electricians
For plumbers and masons, painters and finishers…


Mrs. Blosser (director of development):
For visionaries, fundraisers and donors,
For those who prayed, believed and encouraged,
For safety, collaboration and patience…


Elementary Teachers and Students:

Thank you for inviting us into your space
Thank you for giving us high fives
Thank you for being role models and friends.

Middle and High School Teachers and Students:

Thank you for being so friendly
Thank you for making us smile
Thank you for teaching us new ways of being community

Mr. Leaman (head of school):
Thank you teachers and students
Thank you administrators and staff
Thank you for being not only a learning community
But for being a family.
To God be the glory!

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Celebration
The public is invited to a January 28 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Celebration beginning at 4 p.m. Prospective elementary families are invited to tour the building and talk with teachers and current parents the same day, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Registration online or call 540-236-6021 for more information.

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