Dedication set for Pioneer

Published 12:32 am Saturday, November 1, 2014

Folks in southern Suffolk will take great pride in the first new school dedication in that part of the city since Lakeland High School in 1990, according to school district spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw.

The ceremony to officially dedicate Pioneer Elementary School, which opened for classes at the beginning of September, will begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9 and is open to the public.

Another, more intimate dedication ceremony will come directly after the main event, for donors to the Suffolk Education Foundation who purchased commemorative engraved bricks that are being place around the flagpole.

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Folks can still support that initiative that helps the foundation support education in Suffolk. The deadline to purchase bricks in the next batch is Nov. 15, Bradshaw said, adding that 105 have been purchased so far.

As well as supporting the foundation, a small portion of brick proceeds will be directed toward programs at Pioneer Elementary, according to Bradshaw.

“We hope to be able to do it at some other schools eventually, too,” she said of the commemorative brick concept.

The program for the school dedication, meanwhile, includes remarks by the superintendent, School Board chairman, mayor, Pioneer’s principal and the president of the Parent-Teacher Association.

Fifth-graders will present a musical performance, Bradshaw said, and the students will present writing selections about the new school.

Other ceremony highlights will include the presentation of the “keys” by the architect, and the placing of items inside the time capsule that will be plastered into its home for the next half a century at a later date.

Items going inside, according to Bradshaw, include letters from city and school district officials, Pioneer Mustangs memorabilia, lists of charter PTA first-year faculty members, student writings and newspaper clippings about the school.

Also sealed inside will be an American flag that flew above the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 2 to commemorate Pioneer’s opening, which Bradshaw said a teacher organized. The flag was returned from Washington with a letter of authentication, she added.

“When people open it in 50 years, they will have some sense of what was happening at the time,” Bradshaw said.

Suffolk’s last school dedication, Bradshaw said, was Hillpoint Elementary in 2008.

“While the history is still there, I think the community appreciates having a new facility,” she said, adding, “We do our best to have equitable resources and technology no matter how old or new a building is.”

“It will be a sense of pride for the Holy Neck Borough,” Bradshaw added. “It was a group effort to do it, because it took so many years.”

For brick orders, contact foundation president David Mitnick at