- Press Release -
Contact: Paul O’Sullivan (independent publicist): (619) 779-5316
Charlie Palermo, Board President, Charles M. Schwab Restoration Project: (570) 582-5028
Elementary school student dedicates her birthday party
to help save historic local landmark.
Deadline looms for townspeople to raise enough money
to buy schoolhouse back from bank.
(December 15, 2016 - Weatherly, PA): Some are calling it “Miracle on Spring Street.” For one optimistic little girl, it could be the Christmas miracle of a lifetime - saving an historic schoolhouse from the wrecking ball on her ninth birthday. Monday, December 19, 2017, elementary school student Adia Russell is dedicating her kids’ birthday party to raising funds to help the Charles M. Schwab School Restoration Project get the money needed to buy back the bank-owned 1901-built schoolhouse and return it back her historic little town, the Pennsylvania Borough of Weatherly. For many borough residents, the movie’s most famous line is correct; “yes, Adia, there is a Santa Claus.”
The shuttered C. M. Schwab school was originally gifted to the town by steel magnate Charles Schwab to honor his beloved wife, Weatherly native Eurana Dinkey. Construction was completed in 1903 and it was used as the town’s school until it’s 1991 closing when a modern school complex was built a few miles away. Since then, the building has been unused and neglected; time and the brutal winters taking their toll on the magnificent Edwardian structure. Weatherly pride inspired a grassroots community effort to buy the dilapidating structure from the bank and give it back to the Borough to be reclaimed, refurbished and used again. Now, with the bank’s buyback deadline imminent (December 15th), the Charles M. Schwab School Restoration Project is just within reach of its $50,000 fundraising goal.
Adia’s party could put them over the top.
As her mother describes it, Adia’s decision to trade-in her birthday cake for a silent auction to benefit the school didn’t take much thought. “We originally planned on having a normal birthday party at a restaurant movie theater in Hazleton (Weatherly doesn’t have a public theater).” Adia’s mom, Alyssa Hinkle, is a volunteer for the Schwab school project since the town council agreed to take the 113-year-old building at the beginning of the year if the townspeople could raise enough money to buy it. “Adia asked how many people we can invite, assuming only a handful. I said, ‘let's invite the whole town.’ This made her so happy,” recounts Hinkle.
Monday, December 19th will be Adia’s ninth birthday and her Schwab school fundraiser is at 6:00PM at the Lehigh and Lausanne Rural Volunteer Fire Company, 390 South Lehigh Gorge Drive, Weatherly, Pennsylvania. In addition to bake sale items, businesses such as Kimberlys Princess boutique, LuLaroe fashion, Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski, Makeitmine Magnabilities, Posh and Young Living are each donating goods and services to be raffled off at the event.
Overnight, it seems the whole town is pitching in and has Adia fundraising fever. In addition to having the Mayor’s support, this quixotic effort is being closely watched by thousands of alumni, two of whom, Lee Zink (class of ‘74) and Charlie Palermo (Class of ’78), serve on the Schwab school project’s board. Adia’s selflessness inspired another alumni to hold an EBay-auction of rare antiques, art, books and TY Beanie Babies with 100% of the proceeds to be added to Adia's Schwab school fundraiser party total. A recent Southern California transplant, Ms. Anna August (Class of ‘83). now lives a block from the school and is dedicating the effort in memory of Leslie and John Gutosky, her parents who passed away unexpectedly last year. Rare art and antiques from the Gutosky estate discovered in the historic J.C. Sendel home will be auctioned off online this weekend along with rare collectable Beanie Babies culled from Ms. August’s personal collection.
“Adia is amazing - she’s our own Eurana Dinkey doppleganger. People need to understand; the Schwab school project isn’t just for Weatherly, as much as we’ve earned it. This incredible school is an important part of our railway history, our Pennsylvania history, our American history. Think about it - the school was built in a time of prosperity, when America was selling steel to Russia and the world, when Pennsylvania energy fueled our nation’s economy and Weatherly was one of the most important centers of America’s railroad system. I have no doubt: if we stick together on this, we’ll get our school back!,” gushes August.
The Borough's mayor agrees, Mayor Connors told the Times News, “That school is our town. That school is us. It’s on our police badges, it’s on every emblem that says Weatherly, so that school is us. We really have an excellent opportunity to get that building.”
Press release is written and distributed by Paul O’Sullivan