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Tears mark closing of Roxbury elementary school

Vivian Swoboda, principal at Emerson Elementary School, read with two students yesterday on the school’s final day of classes. Vivian Swoboda, principal at Emerson Elementary School, read with two students yesterday on the school’s final day of classes. (David L. Ryan/ Globe Staff)
By Jenna Duncan
Globe Correspondent / June 29, 2011

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Staff and students shared tears yesterday on the last day at Roxbury’s Emerson Elementary, one of the Boston public schools that is closing before next school year.

“It’s heartbreaking to me, because I’m leaving our community,’’ said Betty Constantino, a teacher at the school for all 24 years of her career. “It’s frustrating, because it’s a great school and nobody has realized that.’’

The school caters to students from Cape Verde, and teachers have even traveled to the island to understand their students’ origins.

Because most students have similar ethnic backgrounds, the school provides a sense of community, Constantino said, and a place for former students to visit.

“We have a lot of students that come back to visit us every year, and now they’ll have nowhere to go,’’ she said.

Principal Vivian Swoboda coordinated a luncheon for the teachers and staff yesterday, where they reflected on their time at the school.

While Constantino expects to go to Umana School in East Boston, she said she wishes that Emerson Elementary School did not have to close.

“The principal seems lovely, and I’m excited to go there, but I would have spent my whole career at Emerson,’’ she said.

Jenna Duncan can be reached at jduncan@globe.com.



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