Tonawanda News — Fran Paskowitz rushed back to Hoover Elementary from a meeting when she heard that there had been a medical emergency at the school where she has served as principal for 21 years. When she got there, she had no idea what she was walking into.
The whole school had gathered in the auditorium to host a proper send-off as Paskowitz will retire after the completion of the school year.
The students made cards and decorations which were hung throughout, and when Paskowitz entered the auditorium thinking something was wrong, she found herself in the middle of school-wide display of gratitude for her years of patience and kindness, complete with a standing ovation.
“It turned out as good as we could have hoped,” said music teacher Margie Lane, of the surprise assembly she helped to put together. “We started working on everything toward the end of April. She really deserves it.”
Paskowitz was ushered to her seat on stage as the fifth grade students in the drama club began to act out the play “The Principal and the Pea,” though they had cleverly changed “principal” to “princessipal,” paying homage to the sign that hung on her office door for many years.
The short musical had scenes acted out on the stage by the drama club, but when the songs came up the students in the audience, organized by grade, took turns standing up and singing.
“I’ve been here 15 years and she’s the only principal (I’ve ever worked with here),” said Jason O’Connor, who directs the drama students. “The whole staff reflects her philosophy, to show respect and be caring. She sets the tone for the whole building. (Teachers) don’t tend to want to leave.”
The faculty aren’t the only ones who feel that way. Several of the students say they will remember Paskowitz fondly because she was always there to help them out or because she never seemed to stop smiling, even if she wasn’t having the best day.