As of now, the Pennington piano is making beautiful music in its namesake school. After being played on by lifelong Concord resident and teacher Beulah Newlin Pennington for numerous years, the piano was bequeathed to the Concord Township Historical Society. Eventually, the organisation decided to donate it to the school on Bethel Road, which is operated by the Delaware County Intermediate Unit.
Recently, the students and staff expressed their gratitude with a choral concert and dedication. “DCIU strongly believes music and the arts are important tools for learning. It’s wonderful to know Mrs. Pennington’s memory and impact on education in Concord Township and the county will live on through this school,” stated Dr. Ray McFall, the Assistant Director at the school. A graduate of West Chester Normal School (now known as West Chester University), Beulah first started her career in 1921 after the death of her husband.
After she had briefly taught in several other buildings, she went on to spend 22 years in a one-room schoolhouse on Kirk Road. “Her job was not done on Friday, since she had to come in on the weekends to stoke the fire. During the Great Depression, the students would bring vegetables to school and she would make soup to feed them at lunch,” explained CTHS President Ed Keane. In 1966, Beulah finally retired from Concord Elementary School after a total of 45 years in public education. The building, along with eight classrooms, was later expanded as well as renamed in her honor. “The piano is from 1906 and she often played it at school events. We couldn’t think of a better thing for people who like music and educating students,” said Ed. There will also be a plaque installed by CTHS to recognise its significance to the building and community.
The school has 43 students, aged from 5 all the way to 21. They are enrolled in multiple disabilities support, physical support and life skills programs. The first two serve individuals with severe and profound multiple disabilities, severe cognitive deficits and physical and/or sensory impairments. They focus on functional skills and behaviors critical for activities of daily living as well as an emphasis on literacy development. The latter caters to students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, significant learning problems and emotional or behavioral disorders. It emphasises on basic academic, life and pre-vocational skills. As for those below the age of 5, they attend the early intervention and Head Start programs. For the full story, you can read it here.