Welcome to Afton Elementary
The History of Afton Elementary School
Afton opened its doors to students on September 8, 1997, as the newest of Pennsbury's 11 elementary schools. For the 550 children who entered that day, it was a new beginning; yet the opening of this beautiful, state-of-the-art facility also signaled the end result of years of discussion and planning by the community, the Pennsbury Board of School Directors and the district's administration.
In the mid-1990's overcrowding characterized other schools on the Pennsbury School District's northern-most end. Both Edgewood and Quarry Hill schools served in excess of 800 students in grades K-5, far beyond their capacities. The installation of modular classrooms at both schools temporarily reduced average class sizes. Yet continuing enrollments of new students from a burgeoning housing development industry in Lower Makefield Township necessitated a more permanent and appropriate solution. When the concept of year-round schooling was not deemed feasible by the Pennsbury School Board and community, the avenue for new construction was opened.
The architectural firm of Faridy, Thorne and Fraytak was ultimately commissioned to design a new school on a tract of ground formerly known as the Hoke Estate on Quarry Road at Clydesdale Avenue in Lower Makefield. The school would be located adjacent to the existing Quarry Hill Elementary School. Concurrently, a redistricting committee was established, charged with the task of realigning school attendance areas that ultimately would draw significant student populations from Quarry Hill and Edgewood and, to a lesser degree, from Eleanor Roosevelt and Village Park schools. Ground was broken for the construction for the new school on June 24, 1996.
In March 1996, a committee of administrators, school board members and community representatives gathered in an effort to name the soon-to-be-built school. Processes were determined as to how this difficult decision would be reached. A call was made to the community for nominations of school names, and over 300 suggestions were received. Ultimately, "Afton" was selected, as that name has local geographic and historical significance.
The school's former principal, Norman Gross, was selected to the position by then Superintendent of Schools Ms. Kathleen Fitton. Through the 1996-97 school year, Mr. Gross was responsible for Afton's staff selection, organization of Afton's Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO), ordering materials for the school, meeting with children who would soon comprise the Afton student body and lowering the level of concern of parents whose children would be transferring to the new school, among the myriad other responsibilities.
Construction of Afton commenced immediately following the groundbreaking, however the pace of construction was hampered by severe weather and other delays. The building actually was opened to students three days later than the start of school for other Pennsbury students in order to thoroughly clean the interior. A gala Open House was conducted on Sunday, September 7,1997, and afforded the community an opportunity to tour the new $14 million facility, and, most important, gave children a chance to find their new classrooms and meet their teachers.
The school was officially dedicated on Friday, October 24,1997, in a beautiful ceremony that featured guest speakers from the Philadelphia Phillies, former Philadelphia television personality Gene London, the Pennsbury High School Marching Band and a host of dignitaries. The dedication was preceded by a week of activities that allowed the children to recognize that their new school was a very special place and that they were a part of its history. As that first year went by the school began to establish its own persona. Under the banner head "Creating New Traditions", events unique to Afton, like the now-yearly Afton Family Picnic, have become part of the fabric of the school. With the traditions now firmly in place, the Afton staff and community embrace a new mission - - "Creating A Tradition of Excellence". Toward that goal, Afton Elementary School is well on its way.
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