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The Carthage Press
  • R-9 breaks ground for childhood center

  • For Beth James, director of special services for the Carthage R-9 School district, Thursday's groundbreaking for the new early childhood center was "a genuine dream of mine."
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  • For Beth James, director of special services for the Carthage R-9 School district, Thursday's groundbreaking for the new early childhood center was "a genuine dream of mine."
    James was one of three people who spoke to the crowd at the ceremony marking the first turning of dirt at the center which will bring together three of the programs that the district operates for children who are younger than school age and children with special needs.
    The Parents as Teachers program, Early Childhood Special Education program and Title I Preschool will operate out of this building on east Fairview Street that will be completed in about 11 months.
    "These students and the community, that have been served well by three strong, but separate, programs, will now have the opportunity to see the strength that is derived by these strands being woven together," James said at the ceremony. "Weaving together these programs will create a seamless net that will catch every student that needs access to these services and the educational opportunities that are available here."
    In addition to school district administrators and board members, a number of people who have donated to the construction of this facility were on hand for the groundbreaking.
    Among those in attendance were trust advisory board members with the Steadley Trust, which gave $350,000 to the project; Ron Petersen Jr., representing his grandmother, Ruth I. Kolpin Rubison, who gae $100,000; Felix Wright and his family, who gave $100,000; and Helen-Louise Hough Elliff and her children, School Board President Lee Elliff Pound, Carthage Chamber President Mark Elliff, and Anne Elliff, who gave $15,000.
    "We're pleased to be able to provide this building through the generous support of our friends to our community," Lee Pound said. "On behalf of the Carthage R-9 Board of Education, I'm pleased to say that we continue to put our children first and that we continue to inspire excellence and for that we thank you, our donors and friends."
    Carthage Superintendent Dr. Blaine Henningsen called the groundbreaking a "new chapter in the history of the Carthage School District.
    "When this project is completed, we'll have a state of the art facility to house our Early Childhood and Parents As Teachers programming for the school district," Henningsen said. "We'll have a modern facility with the resources we need to provide  the instruction that meets the need of all of our students and I applaud the foresight of our board of education and the others in the community who have decided to partner with us in this endeavor."
    James also spoke of the importance of the building to giving children the best start to their education.
    "The Carthage school district is dedicated to not just educating students, but truly inspiring them to excellence," James said. "This building will become the foundation for the education needed for students to reach their potential of excellence. It is with excitement, appreciation and high expectation we begin this endeavor."
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