By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — BELLE RIVE — Nearly 80 years of history can evoke many memories. Current and former staff and students of Belle Rive Attendance Center will collectively share some of those memories during a closing ceremony to be conducted at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday at the school.
"I think they're trying to highlight a little bit about the Belle Rive building," said Regional Superintendent of Schools Ron Daniels, who will be the guest speaker at the ceremony. "We want to celebrate the past of the school and celebrate what in the next few years, will be a new facility for the community."
Daniels knows firsthand about the value of an education at Belle Rive. His wife, Deloris, was part of the first class that became the Opdyke-Belle Rive district; and his two offsprings, Brent and Amy, both attended the Belle Rive school. The Daniels family lives south of Belle Rive.
"It's been a major part of my life and our children. I hate to see it close, but it's wearing down and administrators have to make a decision they think is best. I think the district is making the right decision for our students," he said.
Daniels said his presentation will include the accomplishments of the school and highlight the positives, as well as the disappointment of having to close a school in the community.
"The building doesn't make the school. I think that's important. People in the community have made the school what is today," he said.
School officials announced in April that pupils at Belle Rive will be attending Opdyke Grade School next school year. The reorganization will double the enrollment at Opdyke, with approximately 95 pupils from Belle Rive being transferred. Opdyke currently has 87 pupils.
"We believe we can accommodate all the students at Belle Rive, and we believe the transition will be as smoothly as possible for the staff, students, and families," said Debbie Blakey, newly named superintendent of the district.
A referendum to consolidate Opdyke-Belle Rive, Ina and Dodds school districts failed in April. School officials from Dodds and Ina are now considering their options, with consolidation of the two districts the most likely option at this time, according to earlier reports.