Groundbreaking Ushers in Brighter Future for Elmwood

Elmwood construction logo

District 401 Superintendent of Schools Dr. Leah Gauthier and Elmwood Principal Matthew Lerner participate in the ceremonial groundbreaking at the Elmwood Elementary School construction site on May 11, 2022. (Photo by Alex Romanovsky, DLA Architects)


The remodeling and renovation of Elmwood Elementary School, scheduled to be completed by August 2024, officially got underway May 11 with an enthusiastic groundbreaking ceremony attended by District 401 community members and distinguished guests.

"We want to continue to thank our parents, our community, for your support of Elmwood Elementary School," said Elmwood Principal Mr. Matthew Lerner, who served as the event's master of ceremonies.

On hand for the groundbreaking were members of the D401 Board of Education and administration, as well as Elmwood faculty, staff, students and families.

Other invited guests included State Rep. Kathleen Willis, State Rep. Camille Y. Lilly, Leyden Township Supervisor Rocco D. Biscaglio, Leyden Township Clerk Jamie Losurdo, Village of Elmwood Park President Angelo "Skip" Saviano, Village Trustee Bina Conte, Village Trustee Jonathan Zivojnovic, Village Manager Paul Volpe and representatives from the two firms overseeing the project, DLA Architects, Ltd., and International Contractors, Inc.

"We have many wonderful students and staff that over the past 100 years have walked through this building," Mr. Lerner said. "There are lots of memories, lots of things that have occurred in this building. And it is our goal as we move forward to continue to honor the past as we continue to build a brighter future for 401."

The event began with the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Elmwood 5th graders Isaiah Cubas, Francis Holzhauser, Gabriel Shamie and Marco Vaccarella.

To watch Mr. Lerner's opening remarks and the Pledge of Allegiance, click this link:

The ceremony featured remarks from Superintendent Dr. Leah Gauthier, D401 Board of Education President Mr. Frank Parisi, Village Trustee Mr. Zivojnovic and State Rep. Ms. Willis.

To watch the speakers and view their complete remarks, click these links:


Elmwood students sign their school song

ABOVE: Elmwood students perform their school song under the direction of Elmwood music teacher Meredith Olson. Click the student photo to see and hear them perform! For more photos, visit these galleries. (Photo by Dave Porreca, District 401)


The ceremony also recognized the winners of the student essay contest and student art contest that asked participants address in words or images the question, "How will a new school build a brighter future for me?"

Honored were essay winners Enzo Selvaggio-Schneider (1st grade) and Pascual Perez (4th grade), and art winners McKinley Lerner (1st grade) and Juliana Shemitraku (4th grade).

To watch the winners receive their recognition and awards, click these links:

A brief video was then shown in which administrators, teachers and parents discussed how the Elmwood and John Mills construction projects will build a brighter future. To watch, click the video embedded directly below.



Elmwood music teacher Ms. Meredith Olson then led students in a rousing rendition of the school song. To watch, click this link:

The event ended with a series of ceremonial groundbreakings, led by D401 Board of Education members Mr. Parisi, Ms. Susan S. Capraro (secretary), Ms. Mary Bruscato, Mr. Jonathan M. Rivera and Mr. Peter A. Volpe.

To watch the groundbreakings, click these links:

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Elmwood's groundbreaking, and thank you to the voters of Elmwood Park who made this project possible. We can't wait for the official ribbon-cutting two years from now!


Elmwood groundbreaking

ABOVE: Members of the District 401 Board of Education, along with our Superintendent of Schools and Elmwood's building leaders, participate in the ceremonial groundbreaking at Elmwood Elementary School's construction site on May 11, 2022. From left: President Frank J. Parisi, Jonathan M. Rivera, Mary Bruscato, Secretary Susan S. Capraro, Peter A. Volpe, Superintendent Dr. Leah Gauthier, Principal Matthew Lerner and Assistant Principal Stephanie Hagins. For more photos, visit these galleries. (Photo by Alex Romanovsky, DLA Architects)


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