Banker Joe Daniell graduated from Mableton in 1954, when it went up to seventh grade. His son, Alex Daniell, went to the elementary school from 1979 to 1984. And Alex Daniell’s son, Clayton Daniell, is a first-grader at the school and will start second grade at its replacement, just behind the current location at 5220 Church Street.
“It’s really neat. Not many families have three generations all go to the same school,” Joe Daniell said.
Alex Daniell said the situation is unique.
“It’s a real proud feeling, just being able to tell my son, ‘This is a classroom your grandmother and grandfather were in,’” he said. “I’m excited to see the new school, but I’m sad to see the old school shut down. There’s just a lot of memories here.”
Clayton Daniell, 7, said he likes the idea of going to a larger campus.
“It’s going to be good,” he said.
But for former Mableton students such as former Gov. Roy Barnes, who graduated in 1962, its more than losing a school. It’s losing the place he played his first baseball game and met lifelong friends.
“Everything that happened in the wonderful childhood that I had was made possible here,” he said.
Barnes, the Daniells and others gathered Friday to reminisce about their time at Mableton Elementary. Barnes will be the keynote speaker at a celebration event for the school on April 28.The event will feature tours of the school, entertainment and the chance for attendees to buy a brick from the building as a “keepsake.”
Eddy Barber, a mortgage banker who owns the neighboring cemetery, attended the school from 1956 to 1963. “We hate to see the old building go, but we understand progress,” he said. “It’s served more than its life expectancy.”
The current Mableton Elementary campus opened in phases starting in 1952. It replaced Mableton High School, which burned to the ground in 1948 on the same site.
The school, which 450 students attend, will be demolished in June to make way for a larger facility. Principal Kym Eisgruber said the new building will also house 400 students coming over from Sky View Elementary, just over a mile away. Sky View is one of three Cobb County School District campuses the school board approved closing in February.
In order to smooth the transition, the two schools have hosted joint events, including a picnic between the campuses and a day for Sky View teachers to come over and learn about their new environment, Eisgruber said.
“The new Mableton, it’s not going to be Sky View, it’s not going to be Mableton,” she said. “It’s going to be what we make it together.”
But that won’t make seeing the old school go easy.
“I won’t be able to stand here and watch it be knocked down,” Eisgruber said. “There’s a lot of memories, because within those buildings, there’s a lot of care and details that you have to look at because it can tend to look like a dirty old place. But it’s our home, and we’ve made it to where it makes us happy and we’re very close. We have a lot of cleanup days to make things look shinier and nicer.”