Seventh- and eighth-graders welcomed home to PCES

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GUILFORD — Starting for the current academic year SAD 4 students in grades 7-8 have been moved up the hill from Piscataquis Community Secondary School, which now is the home of just grades 9-12, to Piscataquis Community Elementary School (PCES) to join their younger peers.

“I know it is a bit of an adjustment but hopefully it is a welcome home,” Principal Anita Wright said during an Aug. 31 evening open house and pointing to a “Welcome Home” sign over the cafeteria door in the school lobby. “It’s going to take time.’

After three days of classes Wright said many of the junior high-age students have been enjoying recess time. “They are active, they play soccer, they play basketball, tether ball and that really wasn’t available before,” she said.

“We put picnic tables outside because sometimes seventh- and eighth-graders want to chat, but they have been more active than just sitting,” Wright said.

The principal said several work stations have been placed in the lobby for use by the older pupils in the building to provide them with some independence. “They don’t need someone to stand right over them,” she said.

“I feel like some kids are disappointed because they feel like they are being demoted,” eighth-grader Ruth Griffith said, as she and her peers attended classes last year in the secondary school complex.

“I feel like it’s OK because we had classes here two years ago,” she said. “It gives you a lot more responsibility and makes them behave better because they have to be role models for the younger children and act more responsible.”

“It is an excellent building, they had a very strong year last year,” Griffith’s mother Sue Griffith, herself a grade 7 teacher at the Ridge View Community in Dexter which houses that district’s students in grades 7-8 and below. “They have been welcomed back to school and a K-8 building is supposed to be the ideal building.”

Grade 10 student Madelynn Crosby, who was attending the open house with her younger sister, said the high school building is not as crowded as when six grades were under the roof. She said this year there does not seem to be quite as many restrictions with the building housing just high school students.

“It’s different, the classrooms are a lot smaller so we don’t have a lot of room anymore and we have a playground,” eighth-grader Hailey Cipullo said the move back to PCES. Cipullo noted that the students went from being the youngest pupils in the complex to the oldest.

“I have been here for a while so it’s nice to come back,” eighth-grader Matthew Chadbourne said. “The school was built for middle school and all the teachers got their rooms back so that’s nice, and there is still recess.”

“I like it here,” seventh-grader Abbey Ricker said while talking with classmate Kendall Kimball and eighth-grader Jessie Mayberry. Kimball said the building is a bit more crowded than last year when the current grade 7 students were the eldest pupils.

“We get to help the younger kids, at some point we will get a younger student assigned to us and we can go help them and read to them,” Mayberry said.

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