After 15 Years, EMES is Home

By Andrea Wenger , Director of Advancement

Ribbon cutting, prayer and building tours on Jan. 28, 2020, marked the completion of a building renovation that gives Eastern Mennonite Elementary School a permanent home. The celebration came a little over 15 years after it first opened in the basement of Lindale Mennonite Church in the fall of 2005.

Maria Archer, K-8 principal has been with the school since its inception. “We learned,” she said as she remembered the past year and a half together in one building, “that when relationships are formed across grade levels, our students benefit. And, that when teachers of different divisions come together as a community, we are stronger.”

Previous months were full of planning and preparation, as the building project was completed.

  • Jan. 25 – the covered bridge connecting our two buildings was finished just in time! Donors purchased inscribed bricks earlier in the fall that will be used in a walkway between the bridge and elementary school. A celebration is planned for May 21.
  • Dec. 10 – First day of school! Everyone was thrilled to settle in.
  • Dec. 7 – Staff and faculty (grades 6-12) moved supplies from the middle and high building to the lower building, while K-5 teachers settled in.
  • Dec. 5 – Chapel for K-12 included a farewell and blessing as K-5 prepared to move. The architect, tradespeople and contractors joined so we could thank them.
  • Dec. 4 – K-5 students carried backpacks to their new space with supplies. Parent volunteers moved furniture in the evening.
  • Nov. 11 – Elwood Yoder (history and Bible teacher) interviewed Jim Rush (former government teacher), Lois Bowman ’53 Kreider and Leo Heatwole ’68 about the ’64 move from Eastern Mennonite College to our current upper building. Thanks to Lois’ 1964 diary – a “primary source,” noted Elwood Yoder, with glee – she confirmed the exact move date of Jan. 23, 1964. We also remembered the ’72 fine arts addition, ’76 gym, ’87 dining hall/classroom and Industrial Arts building, and ’05 auditorium/art/music and classroom addition.
  • Oct. 31 – A panel of donors shared why they support EMS, including building projects and financial aid. “We are investing in you!” they said.

Donors have made all of this possible. The community’s prayers, interest, volunteer hours, ideas and excitement have made it a joy. Celebrate with us!

Find coverage of many of these events on our website news section and Facebook page. You will also find links to local media coverage and a blog post by Elwood Yoder on the ’64 building and Sam Weaver’s principalship.

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