UNION HEADSTART GETS NEW HOME

September 28, 2001 11:00 pm
Parents and relatives helped keep small bodies braced and hands firmly pressed down as the handprints were left in the wet cement. (The Observer/T.L. PETERSEN).
Parents and relatives helped keep small bodies braced and hands firmly pressed down as the handprints were left in the wet cement. (The Observer/T.L. PETERSEN).

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

Carefully balanced against adult knees and gripped from behind by adult arms, almost 20 small children leaned forward to plop their hands into the wet cement Friday morning.

One youngster, perhaps well aware of a normal parental reaction, loudly protested, My hands will get dirty!

Soothed by watching teachers Diane Free and Susan Gloria, children leaned forward and left a record of their mark in Union history as the first Headstart class to use the newest building in Union.

The new Headstart building which is scheduled for completion about Oct. 12, is yet to open. But Friday the new center sidewalks were poured and the handprints left in memory.

Headstart has been operating in Union for about four years, said Gloria. The program at first used a downstairs room in the Union school, but with a contract expiring for the room, the program decided to look for its own location.

In late August, a 28-foot by 68-foot commercial modular unit was put on the new site behind Communty Bank. The building consists of a large classroom, an office and a parents viewing room, a kitchen and restrooms.

Contractor Sid Johnsons construction firm prepared the site and laid the

foundations, and Commercial Modular Structures provided the building.

Sub-constractor Dan Armstrong is spending his days in the building, hanging doors, laying carpet and doing the rest of the set up.

But the Headstart kids really dont care about all that adult stuff. Guided by two small boys, a guest was told to step over a pile of finishing strips and be careful.

This is the toy room, one boy announced. His partner didnt seem so sure, but nodded affirmatively when asked if the building was his school.

Free explained that since the school year started, she and Gloria have been conducting weekly home visits, a normal part of the Headstart program, with screenings and other activities where and when they can.

Once the building is ready for classes, there will be a regular morning class. The buiding will be used for programs similar to those offered in the three-year-old Headstart building in La Grande.

Looking at the large number of parents, grandparents and other relatives helping youngsters get the handprints pressed into the wet cement, and then helping to clean hands, Gloria summed up her feelings:

They (Union parents) really deserve it, and its going to be good for the kids.