LONG BRANCH: Dressed up as the principal and teachers, the students of the West End School presented a video that drew laughs and applause as part of their final school board presentation before the school closes this year.
And in a live performance, each grade danced and waved goodbye from the stage at Long Branch High School, where the monthly board meeting features a school in the district. This time, the featured school would be giving its last presentation ever; the West End School is closing and the George L. Catrambone School will become the newest primary school for the district. As one of its oldest schools, the West End School will close and its students will move on to grades elsewhere in the district as it reshuffles its assignments while one school closes and another opens.
Saying “goodbye” to West End was a large part of the school board meeting, held May 21. The evening featured lots of well wishes and thanks to both staff, students and the administration, and even invited back alumni and retired staff to help give the school a proper send-off.
West End Principal Volpe said that he commends administrators and the school board for supporting each of its schools so much.
“It’s nice to have had a central administration support the school and its programs throughout the years, we are thankful for that,” he said.
The presentation was also the final one of the school year. Normally, West End goes first in September.
“We felt this year it was appropriate to go last as we say goodbye to our school,” Volpe said.
Outgoing staff received flowers and special applause as “Goodbye West End School” flashed on the auditorium’s large projection screens. Each of the students gathered back on stage as the lights fell, and hand-held LED lights acted as candles for a final inspiration song to mark the occasion.
The decision was made last year to take one of the district’s schools “offline,” Superintendent Michael Salvatore said previously. In addition to its aging utilities, it became difficult to update the facilities with current education and building tools.
The school, at 132 West End Ave., has no ramps and has three floors and no elevator, for example.