Classmates remember Roosevelt school days

WARREN — Tim Yova of Howland, Joe Pishotti of Warren and Steve Pinko of Johnston, were all in the same kindergarten class at Roosevelt School in Warren. They remained classmates until they graduated together from Warren Harding High School.

More than 50 people who had attended the Roosevelt School on the city’s north end gathered this weekend at Packard Park.

“This is more of a Roosevelt School neighborhood reunion. The school defined the neighborhood,” Yova said.

The school was located at the corner of Vernon and Hall avenues and had students who lived from Mahoning Avenue to the Jamestown Plaza. The school, which has been torn down, at one time housed grades kindergarten to six.

Yova said the reunion was started eight years ago by Gordon Hazlette who has since died.

“We try to get together every other year,” he said.

Pishotti said the event allows for reminiscing about the school, teachers and growing up in the neighborhood.

“We talk about what we got away with and didn’t get away with as kids,” Yova said.

The last reunion two years ago was attended by more than 60 people.

Yova, who lived near the school, said it was a nice neighborhood school where everyone knew one another.

“The north end of Warren was a great place to grow up in the 1950s and 1960s,” he said.

Pishotti said because the school was more north centrally located it wasn’t “the east side versus west side of town.”

“We didn’t get caught up in that since we were in the middle.” he said.

Pishotti said the schools lost a lot doing away with neighborhood elementary schools.

“You knew everyone in the school and the neighborhood,” he said noting three generations of his family attended Roosevelt.

Yova said his mother attended the school.

Irma Valerio Laird attended Roosevelt for two years after her family came here from Europe.

“It was a great neighborhood on the north end and great school. The teachers helped me to learn English,” said Laird, who attended the event with her husband, Bob.

Mike Sherokee said all of the families raised good children who were friends in and out of school.

“When they tore the school down, I didn’t get a brick. I wish I had,” Sherokee said.