by Taylor Webster and Sydney Schwalb
Murch Blue and Gold reporters
Our assignment was to climb to the roof of the Murch school building to see what was up there. We had no idea how to do that because such access is denied to students for safety reasons. However, we were directed to a blue door near the gym, the one that has a sign in big bold letters: AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL. We felt special to be given such access.
So on a foggy day in April, we opened that door and looked inside. In front of us were three flights of iron stairs. Regina Bell, the librarian, went first. She was just as curious about what was up there as we were. We followed close behind, and Henry Daschle, our photographer, was in the rear.
When we got up to the top of the steps, we had to climb up three iron ladders. The first one was the scariest. We had to go through a narrow opening that seemed to go straight up toward the sky.
It was hard to climb. Henry said it was spooky. It was a bit dangerous, too, but we continued to climb higher toward the roof. We wanted to see the Murch cupola up close. For some reason, the further we climbed, the easier the task. We became less afraid – and more excited to get to the top.
As we got closer, we noticed that it was messy and dirty up there, as if no one had been up there to clean. Once we arrived safely at the top, we were relieved.
To our surprise, we could see the tops of nearby buildings, such as the cupola on top of the Deal Middle School, the roof of the church across the street, and the tops of the trailers that housed our 5th grade classes.
Still, we were afraid to go the edge and look down. So we huddled together and slowly walked around on the roof. There in front of us was the Murch cupola. For all of our years as students, we had wondered what was up there. Now we know. Inside the cupola, we saw old metal scraps and a box that couldn’t be opened, and a weather vane attached to the top.
Back in the 1920s, cupolas were built as decorative additions to many schools. Deal, Wilson High School and Janney Elementary have them.
There before us was a beautiful panorama that only a lucky few had experienced. Etched in the side of some wood were the names of some of the students who had stood where we were. We added our names for future student climbers to see.
Taylor, Sydney and Henry are three of the nine fifth graders who worked on Murch Elementary’s student newspaper this spring. The Blue and Gold has given us permission to share the articles with our readers.