Niagara Gazette

Opinion

September 16, 2013

HIGGS: New education uses for LaSalle schools

Niagara Gazette — School has now officially started but we are still learning about current and former elementary schools in the LaSalle section of the city. Population expansion following WWII centered in the LaSalle area. I recall that a girlfriend of mine and sister’s who lived on Weston Avenue near our home on 18th Street moved to one of the numbered streets in LaSalle probably when we were attending North Junior.

These schools built in the late 1950s and ‘60s were out of necessity and of course we all know what happened to the population and how it affects necessity. Fortunately the school district has made good use of some of these buildings closed recently as the earlier ones were sold off to developers rather than used for education needs.

The 66th Street School is now the district’s administration center and the 60th Street School is the Community Education Center. Students from these former elementary schools were combined in a newer building, the Cataract Elementary School, named after the “falls” of Niagara in September of 2007. Located at 6431 Girard Ave., it was the former Madonna High School occupied by the Niagara Catholic school system and then became the Niagara Middle School. The district’s website tells me that, “As part of the Niagara Falls City School Districts’ Facing the Future initiative, students from the former 60th and 66th Street schools were merged into this newer building. Complete with a full-service cafeteria, pool and air conditioning, its one floor design provides a perfect learning environment for students”.

The Community Education Center at 6040 Lindbergh Ave. offers a wide variety of programs including adult GED programs, English as a second language, certified assistant nursing program and an external diploma program. Rocco Merino is the school administrator. Introduction to Computers for Senior Citizens will be offered here starting Sept. 17 through Oct. 22 from 3 to 5 p.m. Evening classes will be held at Niagara Falls High School. Also offered at the Community Education Center is ballroom dancing from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 16, 23, 30 and Oct. 1 and 8. After the course you can sign up for “Dancing with the Stars.” Not quite, but you can show off on the cruise ships with all those other couples. And you can also learn to speak Italian at this location. Niagara River Fall Fishing will be held Oct. 24, 29, and Nov. 7 at Cataract Elementary School. A minimum of four or five students is required so bring a friend. A trip to a fishing destination is planned as well. For lots more information go to the district’s website and then to Schools and Community Education Center.

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