Under the Hat: Always a Bumblebee - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Under the Hat: Always a Bumblebee

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You might think that there isn't a lot of pride in a school located in a poorer neighborhood.

You'd be wrong.

For proof, look no further than Burton Elementary School, which is closing its doors on Buffalo Road in the Erie School District's downsizing plan.

The students ended their school year with a playground fair; there were snow cones and cotton candy, races and clowns.

And there was also, in the waning moments of the school's history, a fierce sense of place.

"It's really cool, I love it here," fifth grader Jasmaris Caban told me, "I'm really sad that it's closing."

The T shirts carried various phrases of support, things like "I am special" or "I am going to college" and many carried the signatures of other students.

But one phrase was printed on every shirt larger than the rest.

"Once a Burton Bumblebee, Always a Burton Bumblebee."

I felt no sense of hopelessness, no fear that these young lives will be measured in months instead of years, of lives inevitably destined for the street.

What I did feel was a sense of pride, of loyalty and ultimately, of family.

"We are Burton family," Principal Carla Johnson told me, "I'm the Mom, the principal, and all of my children. I love it."

The message was clear; coming from a tougher neighborhood does not mean you have to show, as one kid put it, shame in your game.

Next year these students will be split up; some will go to Diehl, some McKinley and others elsewhere.

But they will continue to be tied to this place and this time, a tie that no budget axe can ever cut.

Always a Bumblebee, indeed.


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