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Winchester Elementary Celebrates School's History | Community Spirit

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Winchester Elementary Celebrates School's History

As part of an ongoing class history project, Winchester Elementary students celebrated the 71st anniversary of their school’s opening on Monday, Nov. 29 with a parade and assembly that included several alumni and the school's first principal.

In researching the school’s history, fifth-graders discovered the Winchester School was opened the Monday after Thanksgiving in 1939 with a parade from the old Aurora Street School to the then-new building at 650 Harlem Road.  The present-day students recreated the parade that opened the school, complete with the alumnus who led the parade in 1939. Hugh Neeson, a first-grader at the time and the first student to enter the new school, led the parade with present-day first-grader, Elizabeth.

The parade commenced at 9:30 a.m. in front of Winchester Elementary and proceeded down Harlem Road to Arcade Street, to Aurora Avenue – where it passed the old Aurora Street School – then to Bradford Street and back to Winchester.  Community members, including Town Supervisor Wallace Piotrowski and Town Historian Jim Pace, participated in this reenactment.

Following the parade, students gathered in the school auditorium where members of the fifth grade “History Detectives” group shared some of the information they have uncovered about the school through their research. A question and answer session was held for students to pose questions to guests regarding what Winchester Elementary was like in the past.

The students also communicated via Skype with Richard Ferrand, the first principal of Winchester, who will turn 100 years old in January.  Though he resides in New Mexico, the students were able to sing Ferrand "Happy Birthday" over the computer and listen to him tell of the school's opening day.

The celebration continued with coffee and conversation in the gym for all honored guests.   All the information gathered by students will be shared with the West Seneca Historical Society.                                                                                                                                                                              

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