Niagara Gazette


October 21, 2013

HIGGS: The open classroom concept at Harry F. Abate

Niagara Gazette — Harry F. Abate School at 1625 Lockport St. is the last public school that I will be writing about in this series. According to Patricia Wilson Ross the author of School Bells Ring and my go-to source to get started on the research of the Niagara Falls School District, the school was named in honor of Mr. Abate who served the District for many years “both as a teacher and and administer.”

The two-story brick building contains 48 classrooms, an auditorium, gymnasium and pool. Land acquisition was $600,000 and the building and equipment costs were $4,748,535. Jim Brown, a Niagara Gazette writer of the times, wrote about the opening day: “Parents led children down carpeted hallways, a couple of youngsters wandered around the wide-open class areas red-eyed and sobbing for mama, others sat at tables talking of their summer and doing their ABC’s in crayons and one teacher was looking frantically for a nurse because one child was ill with the nervous first day jitters.”

My son was among the 1,100 students, 60 teachers and quite a few parents on this eventful day of Sept. 6, 1972. Workmen were still putting on the finishing touches on the third wing as completion was halted by a strike during the summer months. “The “open classroom” concept was geared to offer a lot more for both the slow learner and the more advanced” according to Russell Certo, a sixth grade teacher.

There were two kindergarten classes, six classes each in grades 1 through 5 and seven 6th grade classes. The Gazette reporter noted the pastel walls, large windows in the class areas and carpeting. Each class averaged 25 students. John Pattist was the first school principal. Mrs. Cynthia Jones is the current principal with Gerry Orfano is assistant principal.

The new school was dedicated on Feb. 18, 1973 with the late New York State Senator, Earl W. Brydges in attendance. He highlighted the new concept stating “All of us appear to be wedded to the neighborhood school concept yet the ‘neighborhood’ is a relative expression. It can mean a few houses, a block, or all of mankind. ... This school now gives us a new significance because in the City of Niagara Falls, students who only a few years ago would have gone to seven different schools are working with one another in one building. It is a change for the better.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Assessing Islander's accidental fame When Islander go ashore, we know how to behave, most of us. Now Wikipedia can add one Kara Dudley to its roster of notable Islanders, definitively a woman of her times.

    August 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: Imperfect information and the political toilet seat Sometimes, in the multiple choices of life, the answer is quite simply 'E', "Not enough information to draw a conclusion."

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Moreland panel comes back to haunt Cuomo Let's get this straight. That was Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the microphone in the Syracuse radio station, Dec. 4, 2013, explaining the need for reactivating the anti-corruption panel called the Moreland Commission. "The commission clearly has the legal authority to look at anything they want to look at, including the governor, the attorney-general, the comptroller, etc.," the governor told the listening audience.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Immigration issue belongs to everyone I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up my digital edition of the Washington Post yesterday and found something that I think captures part of the dilemma America faces right this minute; it's a simple question: Who are we, or to put it another way, what do we really stand for?

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: It's time the U.S. stopped giving aid to Israel When you see some of the atrocities that Israel has committed in Gaza, including last week's bombing of a United Nations school that was being used as a civilian emergency shelter, you should really wonder why we count them as an ally and why we devote so much of our financial and political resources to the scoundrels.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: A cupcake gets the Niagara Beautification Commission spotlight Not a cupcake per se, but a cute shop in LaSalle operated by a "sweet" lady who is a real dynamo when it comes to running a business.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug [Duplicate] GLYNN: A key factor in luring the convention A natural wonder in the nation's oldest state park isn't the lone factor for selecting Niagara Falls as a convention site.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Regional poetry and sad realities If that isn't (or wasn't) poetry, I don't know what is! I'm referring to the self-satisfied, sluggish trot of ice chunks emanating from Lake Erie in early May 2014 -- sauntering, it felt, along the lovely Niagara.

    July 27, 2014

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Quest for an appointment comes up short We're rolling up our sleeves for Quest. The Big Mac of blood tests, the Tops of tourniquets, the Sears of screenings, opens on our Island at Monday's crack of dawn.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Davis, Vincent mug VINCENT DAVIS: Pledge your allegiance to the Slurpee, America's treat By now you must be aware that it is, in fact, summer. And since summer is a season not characterized by any obvious weather events (sometimes it's hot for days in a row, sometimes you get a bunch of rainy days and chilly nights) but instead activities, I'd like to bring attention to an underrated staple of summer sun enjoyment: Consuming the brain freeze-inducing snack classic, the Slurpee.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page