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Barton Consolidated School in Digby County planning goodbye events in advance of school's closure

Students at Barton Consolidated School take part in some hands-on learning.
Students at Barton Consolidated School take part in some hands-on learning.

BARTON, N.S. – You can hear the emotion in teacher April Mullen’s voice as she talks about events planned to mark the closure of Barton Consolidated School.

Mullen, the longest-serving teacher of the current staff, and part of the events organizing committee, describes the school as a family.

Barton Consolidated School

In the fall this “family” will be moving to Digby Elementary School as Barton school, which first opened its doors in January 1960, closes at the end of this school year. Amid the emotion, however, there will be celebration of all that has made Barton a great school.

It begins May 30 with the school’s spring concert at the Digby Regional High School theatre from 6-7 p.m.

On June 1, an open house will be held at Barton school from 6-8 p.m.

“That’s been set up by some retired teachers and members of the school community. People can come in and look around the school and see what the classrooms look like now,” says Mullen. “They’ll be able to check out some memorabilia, we’ll have photographs and some other things to look at.”

The main event is the CeleBarton Fair on Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be games, a barbecue and an official welcome at 11 a.m.

Barton school students take part in an Africville activity.

As the school’s lifespan draws to a close, for many it’s a time of reflection.

“I know a lot of changes have happened since the school opened and it’s interesting for me to think back about the changes that have taken place in the 13 years since I’ve been here,” Mullen says.

There are 61 students, five teachers and seven support staff at the school.

Mullen says there have been activities taking place to help the students with their transition to the bigger school.

Students at Barton Consolidated School take part in a 100 days of school activity.

Students and staff were invited to Digby Elementary for a thanksgiving dinner in April. There have also been visits to Barton school. The Digby Elementary principal and guidance counselor came and talked to the students and answered questions they had about their new school. A couple of students visited last week and did a PowerPoint presentation that showed the different things that go on at Digby Elementary School.

“At the end they gave every single one of our students a t-shirt that had Digby Dragons on it,” Mullen says.

In mid-June the Barton students will head over to their new school for a sports day.

“I think it’s helping with the transition to make it seem more like an exciting thing than a scary thing,” Mullen says.

Yet while she says it is great to feel so welcomed at Digby Elementary School, it will be hard leaving Barton school behind.

“It’s bittersweet. There are parts of it that can exciting, but I’m not looking forward to it to leaving this small school atmosphere. It just always felt like a family.”

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