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School demolition in Rawlins stirs memories

Apr 15, 2012 - By Zachary Laux, The Associated Press

RAWLINS -- Construction trucks rolled in this week to demolish Pershing Elementary School and, for some, the many memories the building holds.

"It's like your memories being crushed, literally," said longtime Rawlins resident Tina Baker.

Baker was born and raised in Rawlins and now is raising her own family on the south side where the rubble that used to be Pershing Elementary School sits. Many of Baker's family members have attended Pershing, including her son and daughter, she said.

The Pershing Elementary School building was demolished because a new elementary school was opened, replacing Mountain View and Pershing.

Baker can remember the feeling of attending the elementary school and how special she felt in kindergarten, she said. The miniature desks, sinks and toilets in the school made specifically for young children were fascinating to Baker, she said.

Baker also remembers the events Pershing used to host that were unique to the school, she said. Many of the students who attended Pershing were Hispanic, and the school would host special events for holidays like Cinco de Mayo and other events special to the students, she said.

"It's just a real warm memory," she said.

Baker could see and hear the building being demolished, which created a "weird" experience for her, she said.

"I felt so connected to it that it is almost like it is crushing me," she said

Baker's daughter, LeAnna Baker, made it through Pershing before the building was torn down, but her son was taken out of Pershing half way through his fourth-grade year.

Dakota lost memories and friends from the destruction, he said.

"Pershing was my school growing up, and I didn't want it to get torn down because I don't really like the new school," Dakota Baker said.

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