RME’s (West) closing leaves behind childhood memories

  From taking away advisory to changing to a four-day week, the Warsaw school district has seen a lot of changes throughout the past few years. Another major change will be added to the list after the 2018/2019 school year ends, when Ruth Mercer Elementary retires from being a Pre-K school.

  Ruth Mercer was first established in 1991. It was originally called Warsaw West Elementary. Throughout the years, the building has alternated its age groups, shifting from preschool and kindergarten kids to first through third grade elementary students. Generations of Warsaw students have spent a portion of their childhood being educated under Ruther Mercer’s rule.

  “My only memory from Ruth Mercer was when they would hide gold coins for St. Patrick’s day and they would tell all of the kids to only find two coins,” senior Riley Bagley said. “I took probably, like, ten coins.”

  The suggestion to close the school came from superintendent Shawn Poyser. Poyser recommended the change due to the amount of money saved and the potential for more cohesive collaboration between schools.

  “We are down 200+ students within the past 12 years,” Poyser said. “Our fund balances are decreasing and we have room in both elementary schools. This will save us over $300,000 annually.”

  Ruth Mercer elementary assistant principal Shannon Deckard believes that having three elementary schools is unnecessary, especially considering the declining enrollment.

  “We will miss having the building and the early childhood experience but look forward to new opportunities next year,” Deckard said.

  Bagley believes that Ruther Mercer’s closing will have more pros than cons. He believes that it will provide Ruth Mercer students with the opportunity to make new friends at the North and South elementary schools, and that it will save the district a lot of money. His major worry is the loss of jobs for staff. Despite his worries, Deckard says that there is plenty of room in the North and South elementary schools to host the students and staff.

  Despite the building itself no longer being a part of the Warsaw School District, the students will cling to the fond memories that the building hosted.

  “I remember going outside and playing in the basketball court,” senior Dustin Lytton said. “I also remember incubating a bunch of chicken eggs and waiting for them to hatch.”

  Junior Zac Chapman has a lot of memories from Ruth Mercer Elementary school, and agrees with the idea to close it down. In fact, Chapman thinks it would be a great idea to combine all of the schools into one big building.

  “I remember running laps before recess and naptime, and I remember ‘Bring Your Pet To School’ day,” Chapman said. “I figured it would close down eventually. It’s so far out and we don’t really have the money to fund it. If we had the money, I think we should just make one huge school – it would save a lot for transportation costs.”

  Deckard will miss having the building and the early childhood experience, but she continues to look forward to new opportunities next year.

  “RME has been a great place for students to begin their schooling,” Deckard said. “They have had the opportunity to learn from caring and hard-working staff.”