On September 20, 2023 our EMS parents, grandparents, and supporters joined EMES students. teachers and staff in celebration of the design reveal for the gathering space. Guests walked between painted lines, entering through the wide porch, and seeing the walls, classroom/offices, serving kitchen, and bathrooms. One student exclaimed “really!?!” when Paul Leaman, head of school, pointed out that they were sitting on the grass that will soon be the front of the new gathering space.
Maria Archer, elementary principal, welcomed everyone, and shared how important this space will be as the “heart” of the school. Students applauded and cheered for supporters who have made this possible, and learned that there are many people who care about them: their parents and guardians, their teachers, and donors to the school who may not even know them! Mr. Leaman thanked our donors who offered a challenge and everyone who came together to match those funds.
When the design was revealed, Mr. Leaman asked Ms. Archer about what teachers wanted to see in the space. She mentioned an indoor-outdoor space that was bright and open, flexible, and had capacity for everyone to fit. Gaines Group Architect Charles Hendricks responded with an explanation of how they designed for these considerations.
Paul shared a prayer:
For all good things that we can feel sitting in this space, we give thanks
We will always be thankful for the gifts, privileges, and opportunities that you make happen
And that whatever comes our way we hear your promise to always be faithful and with us during challenging times as well as good times.
Thank you that we can grow and learn here at EMS.
I pray that we will always return thanks and commitment to you always.
In Jesus name we pray, amen
They gathered and celebrated the generosity of our community in support of the “we gather” project. The new gathering space will provide a multitude of uses throughout the EMES school day for lunch, weekly gathering, and after-school care. Parents, grandparents, and friends were excited to hear about about special events like the book fair, dessert theater, or service days that they would also be invited to attend in the space. A space that Mr. Bauman, EMES PE teacher, is particularly excited about. It will provide a valuable indoor space for physical education classes during inclement weather with creative equipment like balloons.
The act of gathering nurtures cross-grade relationships, builds trust, creates leadership opportunities, and enables us to care for one another. It is the “heart” of EMES — it is our “living room!” In 2019, Eastern Mennonite Elementary School settled into a beautifully renovated building, adjacent to the school’s original upper building, but it was missing – a dedicated place to gather. Learn more about the gathering space.