TERRE HAUTE —
As she parks her car at Chauncey Rose Middle School, sixth-grade teacher Julia Foltz-Pelham asks two students to carry boxes to her classroom.
“Thanks,” she tells the students as she collects her purse and a folder from her car. She then lets out a sigh, knowing Thursday would be was the last day students would ever attend Chauncey Rose, a school that is closing.
“I am very sad the school is closing,” said Foltz-Pelham, the senior staff member at the school with 25 years of teaching.
“The people that work here are like a family. The students are loving, caring kids who have the least to give but the most heart, and they give when they have nothing to give,” Foltz-Pelham said.
In the afternoon, Foltz-Pelham gave a graduation address, receiving a standing ovation.
“Remember Chauncey Rose with wonderful memories and loving thoughts,” she said. “No one can take our memories away from us. We will always be a Royal because we are CR.”
Kelly Fiddler pulled her van up to the main school entrance. Her seventh-grade daughter and eight-grade son, Sapphire and Eric Fiddler, stepped out to attend their last day at the school.
“The last day is great, as no more taking them to school,” Kelly Fiddler said. “But, it is not great as it is the last day here. The kids are real upset about it. They don’t want to leave. My daughter has to go to another school next year. She has been in three schools now, since we moved up here,” near the school.
“She has some friends who have already gone to another school. Then she didn’t know what school she wanted to go to, either Otter Creek or Woodrow Wilson. She finally decided on Otter Creek, but that [decision] took forever. She just figured it out not too long ago,” her mother said.
Her son will attend Terre Haute North Vigo High School as a freshman next year. “My son is graduating, so not as big a deal for him, but he will miss Chauncey Rose anyway,” Fiddler said. “He is in the choir and wore the red and gold for their last choir performance last week and a lot of the teachers and parents were crying.”
Jean Penry, guardian of Tyler Gambill, had the eighth-grade student stand next to the CRMS Royals sign for a photograph as she dropped him off for the start of the school day.
“He has been here since October and it has been his favorite school and he is not ready to go or for the year to end. It has been a very good school,” Penry said.
As he has done for the past five years, technology teacher William Latta greeted incoming students while wearing a sign around his neck. The difference this time, his message is short, with a tinge of finality.
The sign reads, “It has been great!! Good Bye!!
“I didn’t have anything else to say today. I thought, hey, one last time,” Latta said.
He started to wear the sign shortly after he started teaching at the school. Then, students would walk silently by, even though he would say hello. It was, he recalled, “as if I didn’t exist. I decided I had to do something to get their attention. The sign usually says good morning at the top, then it has a question of the day.
“Then there are four answers to it. If they get it right, they would get a paw pass, which they can turn in for some value at different events we have at the school,” Latta said. “There have been over 900 questions of the day in the five years I have been here. I think they [students and nearby residents] may not miss us today, but next year when they come down that street and there is nobody going to school here, they will miss it.”
Student prepare to move on
Eighth-grade students Hanna Petty and Shannon Berry each wore dresses for their last day and graduation from Chauncey Rose.
“It is very depressing,” Petty said.”I knew they were going to close Chauncey, but didn’t think it would be so upsetting. There years being here, it is just ...” She stopped talking, then resumed. “It is sad. I will probably look back on all the memories and just miss it here.”
“There are some people we will not see because they will got to [Terre Haute] South [Vigo High School],” Berry said. “I won’t see my favorite teacher, Mr. [Billy] Blundell, a math teacher, who is going to Woodrow Wilson. I love math,” Berry added.
Meg Merrill, dean of students at Chauncey Rose, has seen the student population dwindle since her son and daughter attended the school, the last eight years ago. The student popuation was 672 in 1999, but dipped to about 569 five years ago and plunged to 242 this year.
“Many of the students have already gone to other schools so they can have three years in the same school,” Merrill said. “This entire year has been very different, with splitting a principal,” as Chauncey Rose principal Greg Gauer is also principal at Sarah Scott Middle School.
“The teachers never missed a beat and it is because of them the school year went so smoothly,” Merrill added.
Chauncey Rose had 96 eighth-graders graduate Thursday, to be the final “Royals” to do so. Eighth-graders had lunch just before their graduation. The last menu for students was corn dog nuggets or pizza.
Other students are preparing for next year to transition into a new school, either Woodrow Wilson Middle School or Otter Creek Middle School.
Nathan DeSue, 14; Hannah Ketner, 13; and Parker Greiner, 13, will each attended Otter Creek Middle School next year as eighth-graders.
“I will miss most of the teachers, especially [Kelly] Brentlinger,” DeSue said. “She is nice and understands us. I was kinda shocked when they said the school would close.”
Ketner said she remembers taking a lot of photographs in the gymnasium for fun with students and posted them to Facebook. “I cried when I heard it was closing down. I was like, no!” Ketner said.
“I like the atmosphere at Chauncey and the friends,” Greiner said. “I will miss Mrs. [Linda] Potts. She was so nice to us.”
DeSue said Otter Creek “will have a lot more people,” plus the colors will be purple and gold, instead of red and white. “I love purple,” he added.
Ketner said she plans to try out to be a cheerleader at Otter Creek, while Greiner will tryout for basketball. In one word, each described their experience at Chauncey Rose. “Amazing,” Ketner said. “Magnificant,” DeSue said. “Suspenseful,” Greiner said adding, “I don’t know, it is pretty crazy at Chauncey Rose.”
The school’s final graduation came 1:30 p.m.
David Joseph attended to see his oldest son, Dennis, graduate. His son will attend Terre Haute North Vigo High School next year.
“I went to Chauncey Rose and my wife went to Chauncey Rose. I hate to see it close, but I understand. You can’t run a building when it is half-empty,” Joseph said. “It makes me feel old that is for sure,” said the 47-year-old. “Time goes pretty fast.”
His youngest son, Quinten, will attend Otter Creek Middle School next year.
Joseph, a 1983 graduate of Terre Haute North Vigo High School, attended Chauncey Rose when it was a junior high with seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders, instead of a missle school with sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.
Brian Archer attended to watch his girlfriend’s daughter graduate.
“I played basketball here from seventh to ninth grades,” Archer said, adding he was disappointed in the school having to close. “I have a lot of memories here. I remember gym class was the funnest. I got whacked with a badminton racquet in my mouth right there,” he said, pointing to a section of the basketball floor. “At least the gym will stay here, which is good for the community.”
“I had good teachers and one is still here, Ms. Foltz, who is now Mrs. Foltz-Pelham,” Archer added.
Shawn Barnhart attended to watch her eighth-grade twins, Amanda and Jared Johnson, graduate. “I am not happy Chauncey Rose is closing, but what can you do? This is a good school and my kids have excelled here.”
Barnhart said she has misgivings about her three younger children attending a new school. “I went to Otter Creek, and I am scared they will get lost in the background there,” she said.
Students were allowed to take some memories of the school with them in the form of former track, basketball, cheerleading and other uniforms.
Art teacher Edward Holloman had 20 students work on a project that will be permanently displayed in the school’s gym. The painting has a rendering of the school’s front entrance, with dates of 1972 to 2012, along with words against a blue sky.
“I asked students to come up with a word, one that would embody all of the students who have ever attended Chauncey Rose,” Holloman said. “They came up with words like ‘dedication,’ ‘honesty,’ ‘scholarship,’ ‘diversity,’ ‘pride.’
“And I had to put royal in there, because, we, of course, are C.R.,” he said.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Chauncey Rose school
• Chauncey Rose was closed for declining enrollment, from 672 in 1999 to 242 students this year.
• Chauncey Rose Middle School was established in August 1993 to house sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students.
• Before 1993, Chauncey Rose was a junior high school for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students. The junior high school building was completed in July 1972.
• The 8.99-acre school site was first used for the Rose Polytechnic Institute, founded in January 1875. The site was later used for the former Gerstmeyer Technical High School, which closed in June 1971.
• The Gertsmeyer gymnasium and related arts building still stand on the campus.
• The school is named after 19th century Terre Haute philanthropist Chauncey Rose.
School’s final day a sad one
TERRE HAUTE —
As she parks her car at Chauncey Rose Middle School, sixth-grade teacher Julia Foltz-Pelham asks two students to carry boxes to her classroom.
Banks of the Wabash Festival is more than just yearly entertainment
Pioneers think counterintuitively. Where others see widespread apathy, they focus on the possibility for progress. In a way, the 2013 Year of the River celebration began in the 1970s.
Planning session aims to better Terre Haute
It’s not yet clear what will come of it, but dozens of community leaders spent the whole day Wednesday trying to develop a plan – or collection of plans – to make Terre Haute “a better community.”
Education funding boost won’t benefit all schools
In the budget bill passed by the General Assembly last month, there is more money allocated for K-12 education over the next two years, but that doesn’t mean every school will get more dollars.
- Day of Action job options open
Park Board renames land around Memorial Stadium
Land surrounding Indiana State University’s Memorial Stadium on Terre Haute’s east side has been designated as Veterans Memorial Park, following a unanimous vote Wednesday from the Terre Haute Park Board.
Deputy suffers minor injury during incident
A Vigo County Sheriff’s deputy received a minor injury to his hand Tuesday night while subduing a drunken driving suspect who fled behind a North Terre Haute business.
Man accused of child neglect gets new trial date
An Oct. 15 trial date has been set for a Terre Haute man arrested in November for child neglect after he and his wife allegedly tied up and confined their adopted children in the family home.
Police find meth labs, arrest Pierson Township man
Police uncovered two active methamphetamine labs in southeastern Vigo County on Monday, leading to the arrest of a Pierson Township man.
New date set for attempted murder trial
A new trial date has been set for a Terre Haute woman charged with attempted murder.
Rose-Hulman professor researching ways to make homes storm safe
Tornadoes produce greater uplift forces than hurricanes, which can flatten homes such as in Moore Okla., south of Oklahoma City.
Group wants to connect downtown Terre Haute with the Wabash River
Fairbanks Park is underutilized.
The Wabash River is peaceful and inviting, but there is some concern about its cleanliness as well as pollution levels. Also, people can’t get on the river unless they have a boat.
New conservancy district appoints first directors
Members of the first board of directors of a new lake conservancy district were appointed Tuesday by the Vigo County Board of Commissioners.
Vigo law enforcement signs Triad charter to protect seniors
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined Vigo County law enforcement and community activists Tuesday to sign the county’s first Triad charter, becoming the 22nd Triad in Indiana.
Wabash Valley Red Cross wraps up Save the Day Campaign
The American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter’s 2013 annual meeting concluded the 17th annual Save the Day Campaign, and the results lifted the spirits of all who were involved.
Some Vigo roads washed out
Spring storms resulted in $250,000 in damages to roads in southern Vigo County, with costs including sand and labor to save homes near river bottoms, said county highway Assistant Superintendent Dan Bennett.
County Council votes $78K toward rail spur
County officials voted Tuesday night to make good on a 2011 promise to help improve a railroad spur just north of Terre Haute for Menard Inc.
Spring flooding damages future CSO holding lagoon
Flood waters from the Wabash River have done costly damage to one of the city-owned “lagoons” on former International Paper property.
Vigo tops state average for IREAD-3 scores
The Vigo County School Corp. exceeded the state average in the percentage of students passing the state’s mandatory Grade 3 reading test, IREAD-3.
Storms cause minor damage in Valley
Tuesday morning storms in the Wabash Valley caused thousands of Duke Energy customers to lose power.
Kindergartner diagnosed with MD treated to a day with the fire department
“He’ll just never forget this day,” Stacey Manley said, a little bit tearfully, as she watched her smiling 6-year-old son Carter sitting happily in the captain’s seat of Fire Engine 2.
Casey, Illinois aims for another world record
The town of Casey, Ill., may soon weave its way into the record books as the small town with the most world records. After setting records for the world’s largest wind chimes and the world’s largest golf tee, Casey is now looking to become home to the world’s largest knitting needles and crochet hook.
Rose-Hulman projects will promote growth, learning for people with physical challenges
Life changed dramatically for college engineering student Drew Christy on Feb. 22, 2008 when he was involved in an auto accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
‘500’ gas stations being sold to Speedway LLC
After several decades in business, the area’s familiar “500” gasoline stations and convenience stores will soon be missing from the roadsides of Vigo and Sullivan counties.
Terre Haute woman faces 14 charges
A Terre Haute woman faces 14 criminal counts after her arrest Friday on drug-related charges.
Two adults injured in ATV accident
Two adults were injured Sunday evening while riding an all-terrain vehicle near Lexington Farms Subdivision off Moyer Drive in southern Vigo County.
Vigo schools’ medical claims down 4 percent
The Vigo County School Corp.’s medical claims were about $13 million over the last 12 months, down 4 percent from the prior year, said Diane Titchenell, an Anthem account manager that works with the school district.
2013 Government Directory now available
The 2013 Government Directory is now available.
Life-Size Ping Pong: Valley pickleball tourney draws large crowd to Brittlebank Park
It’s been described as “ping pong on steroids.”
Some people call it “life-size ping pong where you stand on the table.”
Boat trip aims to raise awareness about Lewy Body Dementia
In 2013, the Year of the River, it makes sense to link a grand adventure on the Wabash River with a good cause.
Legislature had little taste for alcohol bills
When it comes to alcohol, the 2013 legislative session may be marked more by what it didn’t do to boost booze sales than what it did.
- More News Headlines
- Banks of the Wabash Festival is more than just yearly entertainment