Soon the bell will ring for the last time at Ericsson Elementary School. The only thing left is the last opportunity for former students to walk the empty hallways and soak up every last bit of the memories they might have in the building. Friday May 22, 2015 Ericsson Elementary will have its last Open House/Fiesta from 3:30 to 7:00 PM. There will be food, fun, bouncy houses, games, face painting, D.J. Guerrero, Metro Link Bus Rides, etc. Everyone is welcomed to this event. Former students can walk the halls and grounds of the school remembering and sharing their unique stories about the school. Also, former students will be able to take their Hall of Fame pictures. This is one event where the members of the whole community have a chance to remember and say goodbye to the school that marked the lives of many.
As way to remember Ericsson Elementary Hola America asked community members to share their beautiful memories of school with us. Here are some of their recollections.
With the recent closing of the school, it is easy to forget all the history of this school but Rico Navarro who is a 4th generation Ericsson alumni said Ericsson was built along Fourth Avenue because all the factories were in the area. “Ericsson was a very neighborhood school with people of many races, outstanding volunteerism, community effort, baseball teams, parents who worked at the factories. Prior to the 1980’s there were several generations of families going to that school. Ericsson was an awesome place to go with a lot of activities involved. A lot of good working people came from that school,” Navarro shared his memory.
A special memory for Rico Navarro was the great tradition of the Dad’s Club baseball team which did well in the 1950’s to the 1990’s. “We had 300 people from the West of Moline, coming to watch us play. Players from the teams, my dad coached still come to my dad’s house today,” he said.
Joel Esparza also had great memories of the baseball team. “It was a very awesome neighborhood school for the West end kid’s. Especially walking distance. Everybody down graded us that it was a ghetto school cuz all the Mexican kids went there n the gangs. But we as kids when I went there in the early 90’s showed them that we are not. We showed them academically and in sports especially baseball. That’s one thing I did love about Ericsson was the baseball, it kind of reminds me of the movie Hard ball with Keanu reeves trying to be a coach to all these little kids from the neighborhood to keep them out of trouble. That was us the Ericsson Hawks baseball team. Now you know what we were pretty darn good from going from dead last to being #1 to a champion. Even my mom sponsored us until I went to middle school. So Ericsson to me was heart, guts and glory. Always be tough,” Esparza told.
With an increase of Hispanic immigrants in the 1980’s school added more bilingual programs in English and Spanish. Bibiana Gutierrez, who attended the school in the 1990’s said, “Ericsson means a lot to me, it’s very special, it helped make me the person I am now. There I had some of the best teachers, ones who motivate you to become something big someday! They such a big impact in my life that I still keep in touch with some of them.” She added, “a lot of my best memories also come from Ericsson, like our quarterly award ceremony, our Christmas program, being part of patrol, The after school sports program, making mummies out of chickens in 5th grade along with many others. I was happy to have had my kids go there too so they too share some of the special memories. It makes me very sad to know that Ericsson will be closing after this school year, but I know that my memories made there will last forever!”
Ericsson was a world of opportunity for Maria Gonzalez. “No matter where we came from, or how poor we were, the teachers and staff gave us all great opportunities and made sure that we were treated just as equal as the rest of the students from other schools. From awarding scholarships to attend camp at the University in Macomb to reaching out to the community for programs for new shoes,” Gonzalez shared.
Leesa Hicks Delgado said she remembers when they moved here from Mississippi and her parents were looking for a place to live since they were living with a friend of her mother. “We moved to west end Moline and I started at Ericsson. Mrs. Carlton was my kindergarten teacher. I grew up in that neighborhood and had my struggles but Ericsson was my home. The teachers were there for me and understood things I was going through. I truly believe it is because of them I am the person I am today! Thank you Mrs. V, Mr. Healy, Mt. Stout, Mr. Carsell and Mrs. Nelson for all your support,” Hicks Delgado shared her personal experience.
Ericsson was a school where every teacher cared, Ashley Simpson said. “Every teacher listened and if you didn’t understand something someone anyone was there to help no matter if you were in their class or not there was no failing if you failed then they changed how they were teaching they never blame the children for not learning correctly. They taught you with so much pride they are happy to see each and every one of their students even now they still remember me after almost 15 years and love the updates on life and ask how my brothers and sisters are. Always supportive not matter what I’m doing in life. I don’t think any school can compare how much passion/excitement my teachers had for us to learn. Thanks to each and every one of those teacher,” Simpson remembers.
Ericsson Elementary raised a lot of wonderful people who are now thankful for this great experience. The memories are not in the building, but rather in the hearts of people, that means that many will always have beautiful recollections of Ericsson Elementary even the doors of the school are closed for good.
Adiós Ericsson Elementary and thank you for the memories.