Lincoln Opens New Media Center
Lincoln Avenue Opens the
GIFT OF READING and
A World of Pure Imagination
With its New Media Center
It was a cold winter morning a year ago when the first golden shovels bit into the earth. The Lincoln Avenue community witnessed as Dr. LeBlanc and select students in hard hats symbolically launched the Lincoln Avenue school construction upgrades and projects.
A year later, within the comfortable confines of beautifully windowed walls, the Lincoln Avenue Elementary school unwrapped an enormous gift this holiday season—a new library media center—during an official ribbon-cutting ceremony!
Assembled within the gorgeous new library, bedecked with ribbons, bows, a banner that stated Reading is A Gift, and book-cover artwork created by every student, was the entire Lincoln Avenue community. Everyone was there to celebrate. Fourth-graders playing recorders introduced the musical fanfare followed by a special presentation of hard hats and golden shovels to guests Superintendent Dr. Walt Schartner, Assistant Superintendent John J. Belmonte, and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Geri Sullivan Keck. “Thank you for lending them to us,” the students spoke politely. “We are so excited to give them back!”
“We have added since that last cold groundbreaking ceremony day,” announced Lincoln Avenue Principal Dr. LeBlanc, “two new kindergarten classes, a common area for our kindergarteners, new bathrooms near our cafeteria, new classrooms for [reading teachers] Mrs. Kinsella and Mrs. Barone, a new art room, new rooms for [special education] Miss Williams and Mr. Sampson…and last to be completed, but maybe the most exciting of all, is our brand new library.”
Comparing the grand opening with the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dr. LeBlanc briefly read aloud to the entire assembly excerpts from chapter 13 “The Big Day Arrives,” interjecting, “all of us here [today] are lucky ticket holders, wouldn’t you agree?” The children cheered in response.
Dr. LeBlanc continued by thanking many special and talented people who were instrumental in the success of the construction projects (which included James M. Campbell P.C. Architects Bruce Strong and Ralph Cassetta; Project Manager Jeff Stuhler, Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Dan Casali. Instructional Technology Coordinator Barbara Hall, District Clerk and former Lincoln Avenue PTA President Mari Demetres, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Rosemary Camilleri, along with Assistant Superintendent John Belmonte, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Geri Sullivan Keck, Superintendent Dr. Walt Schartner, and Mr. John Verdone, one of the BOE education members“who helped make this big decision.” She also acknowledge the front office staff for their celebration preparations.) For his intensive and heroic efforts to “transform our school into a castle,” to quote Dr. LeBlanc, Head Custodian Craig Martin was crowned “King of the Castle.”
Countdown to the ceremonious ribbon cutting was shouted in unison as Dr. Schartner held up the gigantic silver scissors for all to watch. Once the delighted squeals and shouts subsided, a musical interlude provided by the chorus of Fifth-graders sang the famous Pure Imagination theme from the Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with lyrics that applied to their new library. “Come with me/And you'll be/In a world of Pure imagination/Take a look/And you'll see/Into your imagination/We'll begin/With a spin/Traveling in The world of my creation/What we'll see/Will defy/Explanation!”
Various presentations were made before the ceremony closed.
- After Dr. Schartner acknowledged the vision of former superintendent Dr. Jones in his opening words, he presented the library with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factor plaque that will hang on display. He in turn was privileged to receive a Golden Key of Literacy for the Lincoln Avenue Library from Student Government Attorney General Richard Cotes, allowing Dr. Schartner to “pass through the halls of this library any time you wish.”
- Honoring Mr. John Belmonte for his tireless oversight of all the projects, the Lincoln Avenue community presented him with a collection of books to help him “relax by a warm fire and read.” Mr. Belmonte responded, “it is such a pleasure to be here,” and shared a special nod of thanks to the teachers for “putting up with” the months of construction that resulted in the new instructional spaces and the beautiful library.
- Dr. Geri Sullivan Keck expressed her excitement for the wonderful library that will open doors for a special place in each child’s imagination. “I hope your experiences in this new library will be scrumptiliumscious!”
- For this special occasion, the school photography company EAP Photography, Port Jefferson, created an amazing photo montage that appears, from a distance, to be balloons and the numbers 2010, but upon close inspection is a colorful arrangement of tiny portraits of every student at Lincoln Avenue this year. This memorial piece will go on permanent display at the library.
Before the students were dismissed from the ceremony, they were encouraged to participate in a bookmark-design contest, organized by Art teacher Mrs. Podlas, which will culminate in “published” bookmarks for the contest winners. The celebration concluded with adults and children alike envisioning “Pure imagination/Living there…” in Lincoln’s New Library Media Center.
(photos courtesy of Linda A. Mittiga)