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Goodbye Pleasant View

Saying goodbye to ‘a school that is cherished’

Pleasant View Elementary closes its doors for the last time


Dan Willard, 75, remembers the day he entered the fourth grade. The year was 1951. And Pleasant View Elementary was opening its doors for the first time.

There used to be atrolley that picked up students who lived along South Golden Road to take them to the brand-new school, about half the size it is today.

And he talked about his former teachers.

“The teachers here have always sacrificed for the benefit of the students,” said Willard, a retired electrical engineer and longtime Golden resident. “They were here because they loved what they were doing. They cared about us. And in return, we appreciated them.”

Sixty-six years later, Willard was among hundreds who came back to Pleasant View on May 23 — its last day to host students.

During the closing ceremony, each attendee pinned on a different colored ribbon to represent his or her connection to the school: Students and alumni wore teal, family members royal blue. Current and retired staff members wore gold, school board representatives yellow stripes. School volunteers had a solid yellow ribbon, caring community members white.

“This is the culminating event,” Principal Janace Fischer said, “to say goodbye to a school that is cherished.”

• • •

The Jeffco Board of Education decided Feb. 9 to close Pleasant View, citing low enrollment and aging building conditions among several reasons. The school has faced numerous challenges over its existence — a large homeless and transient student population, which contributed to low test scores. It also was a Title I school, which means more than three-quarters of its students were on free or reduced lunch.

But despite these hardships, the school, which on its last days served just under 225 students, became the heart of Golden’s Pleasant View community — a hub where families could connect with each other, community resources and academics. The Action Center and the Golden Backpack Program partnered to launch the school’s Fresh Food Pantry, which gave parents weekly access to shop for fresh food. Golden Tutoring & Enrichment’s MATHrive, an extracurricular academic workshop to improve math skills, was available for free, thanks to a grant from the Golden Schools Foundation.

And through a partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), professionals periodically visited Pleasant View and interacted with students. On the last day of school, NREL brought each student a new reading book.

Sherrie Durfey, the school’s librarian and a special education para-professional, has struggled with the school’s closing. She has worked at Pleasant View for 15 years and knows all the students by name. She lives in the neighborhood and will still see some of the children every once in a while. But that doesn’t make it any easier to close the doors.

“All of us have just been keeping ourselves busy to keep it off our minds,” Durfey said. “But as we lose the kids (today), it just gets harder.”

In teacher Jeremiah Mey’s classroom, before school was let out for the day, his fourth- and fifth-grade literary students shared memories of the school year, but also excitedly boasted where they were headed for summer vacation as they packed up desks and gathered belongings.

For the most part, Mey said, “we’re closing up the end of the year as we normally would.”

• • •

In the assembly hall,closing ceremony attendees poured over old yearbooks, looking for pictures of former teachers and classmates. Parents showed their children class photos of themselves from when they attended Pleasant View.

“I grew up down the street,” said Rebecca Harris, now a Lakewood resident, as she showed her 5-year-old son Jamison a picture of herself and former classmates. “I attended Pleasant View, and so did my mom.”

Jamisonwill start kindergarten in August, Harris said, and the saddest thing about the school closing is that now there’s no chance of him being a third-generation Pleasant View alumni.

During the closing ceremony presentations in the assembly hall, sixth-graders gave short speeches — anecdotes of them starting out as seeds at Pleasant View and, with sun and water, sprouting as they continue on their scholarly journey.

A butterfly release outdoors concluded the ceremony.

Teacher Holly Robel calls the school’s closing a great loss.

But she and her second-grade students grasped onto the symbolism of the change with a butterfly.

“It’s OK to be sad at the loss of a caterpillar,” she said, “because we gain a butterfly for the next chapter of our lives.”


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