HAMMONDSPORT—Close to 100 Glenn H. Curtiss students, both former and current, attended the closing celebration for the school, Friday, June 4, in Hammondsport.
The event featured remembrances by former students and music performed by the Curtiss Band. After the presentations, alumni took a tour of the school, looking through yearbooks from 1935 to 2005, before having one last lunch at the school.
Speakers included Trafford Doherty (Curtiss museum director), James Zimar (school board president and class of 1977), and Randy Kuhl (former state senator and U.S. representative, and class of 1961). At the start of the ceremony, fifth grader Jared Raab, seventh grader Annie Stone, and eighth grader Hannah Ridge read their winning essays about the Curtiss school. Michelle Sincerbox, elementary principal and class of 1986, gave the closing remarks.
“When I came here eight years ago, it was filled with teachers and students,” said Superintendent Kyle Bower during the opening remarks, explaining Curtiss was not a “megacomplex” with 1,200 students. “It was a gift to the district and the community.” However, he added that times change, necessitating the school’s closing.
“Curtiss was, and always will be, a great school,” said Stone in the essay she read during the ceremony.
Doherty offered up his memories of the school, including the cafeteria/gymnasium/ uditorium the ceremony was held in. He said he recalled roller blading, watching movies, and attending a dance there. Doherty said, “1966 was the last time I was in this room,” for his friend’s senior prom.
Zimar talked about the school opening in 1935, when it was “the new school.” He said “it’s not unlike now.” Zimar explained that when the school first opened the country had come out of a war, where new technology was used, and the U.S. was facing the mismanagement of natural and financial resources.
“I’ve been thinking about what to say at a building closing. I’ve been to plenty of building openings,” remarked Kuhl. He explained it brought to his mind the chance to honor the students and teachers who passed through those halls.
He then offered his own memories of going to school at Curtiss. Kuhl said he remembered playing dodge ball and watching basketball games in that very gym. He attended school at Curtiss until his junior year. Kuhl added he was part of the first class to graduate from the “new school” when the Main Street campus opened.
The school will be completely empty of students by the end of this school year as the last grade level is moved over to the Main Street campus. Fourth graders already started classes there last year.