Washington holds tight-knit school in close community | TheUnion.com

Washington holds tight-knit school in close community

Living in a small rural town gives educators tools for teaching, as seen recently with a project in downtown Washington.

Washington School’s entire population of students, all seven of them, created a sign welcoming visitors to the old Gold Rush town. The two-classroom school has been in continuous service for 103 years.

Last week, students, their principal and teacher Pete Milano, place-based educator Diana Pasquini and the towns mayor unveiled the billboard’s river scene as the townspeople cheered.

“We’re a very tight knit family here. The kids grow up together and the community is supportive of the school,” Milano said.

For the past eight years, the Mighty Washington River Otters have participated in national and local community service projects. In previous years, students built dog houses for Animal Save and several murals for the Fire Safety Council.

Each year, the school donates $300 to the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart Program.

Throughout the school year, students and community members connect through gatherings. They share stew at Thanksgiving, plays at Christmas time, and popular Haute Trash recycling fashion show.

Perched on a knoll in the center of town, Milano uses the river that flows nearby and the colorful workers in the town’s store and motel to teach his students about the world.

“We do a lot of work with what’s here,” Milano said.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail lbrown@theunion.com or call 477-4231.

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