Franklin Elementary School invites former students for farewell
Franklin Elementary School staff are planning four farewell events this spring to give former students and faculty a chance to reunite and say goodbye to the building.
The school, along with three other elementary schools in Lehighton Area School District, is set to close at the end of the current school year. Starting in the fall, all Lehighton students in grade K-5 will attend the district’s new elementary center.
The events will be arranged by decades, according to Franklin paraprofessional Brenda Eckley.
First up will be students and staff who attended or taught at Franklin between 1955-69. That reunion/open house will be held from 9 a.m. to noon April 14.
“The first year for the school was 1955, so we’re giving an opportunity for the students and staff from that point up until 1969 to come in and reminisce,” Eckley said. “I know a lot of the staff are excited to see their former students and everyone gets a chance to see what the building looks like now in its final year.”
The second event, scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon for May 5, will feature former students and staff from 1990-2005.
During those years, Franklin staff members, students and volunteers helped stitch a 7-by-8-foot American flag “comfort quilt.” Eckley presented the quilt to President George W. Bush in the Oval Office in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
On May 26, from 9 a.m. to noon, students and staff from 1970-89 are invited back to Franklin for an event that will include a short memorial service.
The service will include former students of Larry Hill. Hill, a former teacher, chaired a project to build a memorial for the people from Franklin Township who died in conflicts.
“Those students started the Memorial Day programs here at Franklin, and we want them to finish it,” Eckley said.
The memorial’s plaque indicates it was dedicated in 1988 with the help of fifth- and sixth-graders at the time.
Anyone who was a Franklin student at the time and was involved with that project is asked to contact Eckley at 610-377-7548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The celebration will wrap up on the night before the last scheduled day of school from 6 to 9 p.m. June 6. All Franklin students from 2006-18 are asked to participate in the event. At the conclusion, four students from each grade level and 10 staff members will release 63 Chinese fire lanterns into the sky.
“It was designed to symbolize the 63 years the school has been open,” Eckley said.
Before that event, the Franklin staff is invited to a light dinner at 5 p.m. in the faculty room.
The other three events will feature a light lunch for attending former staff members at noon in the faculty room.
Former students and staff wanting to know more about the events can contact Eckley or Kelli Carpenter at email@example.com.