'Forever Young': Springfield elementary school closes for good

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent
Students and staff at Young Elementary School in Springfield Township gather for a group picture outside the building on the last day of school on May 26.

SPRINGFIELD TWP. – Classes began at Young Elementary in 1958 and continued until May 26 when the school year ended and the building was closed due to financial constraints. 

With the closure, students and teachers will continue at Spring Hill and Schrop Schools.

Young Elementary, 3258 Nidover Drive, was built at a time when there was a growing student population causing a need for more schools. It was then that the Young Family donated land for the district to build the elementary school.

It was built on the farm of Menno S. Young who taught in the township's one-room schoolhouse, Kaiser School, on Tyson Road. His son, Dale Young, also became a teacher working at Stark Technical College.

The farm was originally purchased by Samuel Young, Menno’s father, in 1893. The farm can still be seen from Canton Road and a sign hangs in front of the farmhouse at 2239 Canton Road.

In 1957, 10.5 acres of the Young Farm was donated to Springfield Schools to build the 31,180 square foot school. Young Elementary School classes began in 1958. At one time, kindergarten through sixth grades attended the school. This past year, the school housed kindergartners through third-graders. With the closure, the current kindergartners and first graders will attend Spring Hill and the current second and third graders will go to Schrop. Spring Hill will also be home to the Pre-kindergarten students.

Teachers and staff of Young Elementary School agreed May 26 was a sad day. Quite a few of the teachers and parent volunteers attended classes at Young as children.

Principal Jennifer Gazer has been in the building off and on throughout her school and teaching career. She began her school years at Young as a kindergartner and hoped to retire from Young in about 10 years.

“I was a student here from kindergarten through 6th grade, but plans sometimes have to change, and the way we react to change dictates how successful the outcome will be,” she said.

First grade Teacher Paula Murphy, a Springfield High School graduate who also attended Roosevelt Elementary School, has taught at Young for 13 years. Murphy is now going to teach at Spring Hill, which was the junior high school when she attended. She said the closure is sad and hard on “our kiddos," but complimented the parent group at Young School saying "they have been wonderful and have been providing many things for the kids to do this last week at Young.”

On May 26, they had a bouncy house, blow up slide and a picnic lunch. The day before was the last Young School Carnival. Murphy said it is sad but they will make the best of it and move on.

Springfield Township trustees Dean Young, the son of Dale Young, said during the 1950s there was a growing population. There was construction of Boyer, Schrop, Young and Spring Hill schools.

“That was the product of the post war baby boom,” he said.

At one point, there were about 5,400 students in Springfield Schools. He said at the time he graduated from high school in 1970, there were six elementary schools, two junior highs and a high school with an annex building.

Now, the district has about 2,100 students and the only schools remaining are Schrop, Spring Hill and Springfield Junior/Senior High School.

While it was sad for students and teachers seeing the building close, Ganzer had created a positive attitude and environment for those at Young. She said once they knew that Young Elementary School was closing, they had to focus on the positive impacts of having only one elementary school.

“Having all of our staff members who teach the same grade level in the same buildings can bring an increased level of unity and consistency when it comes to teaching and programming, Ganzer said. "I am extremely excited to work with our pre-K to second grade staff. They are an amazing group of dedicated individuals and the environment we are going to create will be fantastic.”

She said their theme for the end of the year has been “Forever Young.”

“Young will forever live in the hearts of all the students who have walked these halls," Ganzer said. "But we must remember that this is only a building. The heart and soul of Young School can be found in the students and the staff members who will carry that forward into their new buildings."