An impromptu reunion occurred Feb. 20 and 22, when former teachers, students and the public returned to the site of the old Rehoboth Public School to claim a sand-colored brick salvaged during demolition of the beloved school.
Claire Layton, a former student and 28-year elementary teacher at the school, recalled lacing her skates for gym class when adjacent Silver Lake froze over. “That’s how we all learned to skate!” she said. “You couldn’t do that nowadays.”
Another grad recalled staff members spraying water on the lake to hasten its icing. “We drove a car over it once,” he laughed.
Layton’s former student, Lynn Wheeler Moore, said her fifth-grade class bonded when Layton read aloud Wilson Rawls’ classic children’s novel “Where the Red Fern Grows” throughout the school year. Hugging Layton, Moore said, “We all cried. We still talk about it.”
About 150 bricks were given away, Cape Communications/PR Coordinator Stephanie DeMalto said. Remaining bricks will be used to create walkways through the old school’s footprint. Other plans call for basketball and pickleball courts, a pavilion, an arch with the school’s original name and datestone, benches and outdoor seating.
Originally Rehoboth High School, the school later housed junior high and elementary students after consolidation of Rehoboth, Lewes and Milton school districts formed Cape Henlopen School District in 1969.
Prior to its demolition, Cape district officials hosted a final open house and tour of the old school, and Rehoboth High alumni from classes 1945-72 held a reunion in the school gym. Part of the wood gym floor was repurposed and installed in the new elementary school’s history room.
The new Rehoboth Elementary School opened its doors in September 2019.