Mayor, student cut ribbon at new Wildwood School annex
by BRIAN NADIG
The days of overcrowded hallways and classes inside former storage rooms at Wildwood School are over for eighth grader Abad Viquez.
Viquez had the honor of introducing Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Sept. 10 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new 10-classroom annex at Wildwood, 6950 N. Hiawatha Ave. The three-story annex, which includes a library and a lunchroom, opened on Sept. 8, ending several years of lobbying for more space for the school.
"This day would not be possible without your advocacy," Emanuel told a crowd of students, teachers and parents inside the lunchroom.
Wildwood is a neighborhood magnet school with an international baccalaureate curriculum. Its enrollment is projected to be about 465 students this fall, up from about 30 last year.
In 2013 some parents expressed concern that the school would not qualify for an an annex due to its policy of enrolling students who live outside the school’s attendance boundaries, but school official said that Wildwood may receive special consideration because of its status as a magnet school. A fews months later plans for Wildwood’s annex were announced.
Wildwood admits students through the enrollment lottery in those grades where classrooms are not full in an effort to preserve teaching positions and help diversify the school. Children who live within the Wildwood’s attendance area are guaranteed enrollment.
Emanuel said that the improved facilities at Wildwood will allow its students to have the "21st Century education" that they deserve. "This is a beautiful building, but what is beautiful is what happens in this building," Emanuel said.
At the ceremony, the Friends of Wildwood was selling commemorative brick pavers that will be placed in a new walkway in front of the school’s entrance. Funds will used to support a new music program and the school’s sports teams. The pavers range between $250 and $2,000, and a private donor will match the total amount raised, up to $50,000.
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