June 20th, 2014 | University

Elementary school students graduate from Yale

Peck-Place-Procession
Photo by Pooja Salhotra.

University President Peter Salovey shook hands with 71 sixth grade students on Thursday morning as they marched across a stage to receive an official Yale graduation certificate.

The students were from Peck Place School, a public elementary school in Orange, Conn. that was severely damaged in January when a pipe burst and the resulting damage revealed asbestos in the school’s floor tiles. The school needed to be evacuated for an emergency abatement, and Yale University agreed to house the school’s 374 students in a vacant office building at the West Campus. Yale facilities and security worked closely with the school district to transform an office space into a school, fully equipped with a gym, cafeteria and library.

On the students’ last day of school on Thursday, Peck Place held a formal, Yale-style graduation ceremony in the West Campus courtyard in honor of the elementary-school graduates.

“You are the first class of sixth graders ever to graduate from Yale University,” Salovey said to the students in his graduation remarks.

Despite inclement weather, over 400 people attended the outdoor event, including Provost Ben Polak, Secretary and Vice President Kimberly Goff-Crews and Superintendent of Orange Schools Lynn McMullin.

According to an Orange Public Schools press release from earlier this month, renovations are underway at Peck Place and the school is on schedule to reopen in the fall.