Kenilworth students take part in groundbreaking for future school

KENILWORTH, NJ — A groundbreaking ceremony at David Brearley Middle-High School on Thursday, Dec. 14, included school district leaders, Board of Education members and construction contractors.
But the true guests of honor were barely taller than the shovels they used to scoop the soil. Five fourth-graders, one from each homeroom, participated in the groundbreaking as their classmates watched from the bleachers.

All wore hardhats and waved blue and yellow flags – the same colors of their future school.

The current fourth-grade class at Harding Elementary School will enter David Brearley Middle-High School as the school’s first sixth-grade class in September 2025. The groundbreaking signaled the start of the work on the two-story addition that will expand the middle school to accommodate grades six through eight and create a high school science wing. The project is part of a $31.4 million bond referendum that Kenilworth voters approved last year.

The building addition will give the middle school its own main entrance, a structural separation between the middle school and high school, and space for more middle school classrooms.

“We know that students thrive when they feel a sense of belonging. We have long been determined to give our middle school students a true home of their own where they can focus on their academic and social experiences,” Kenilworth Public Schools Superintendent Kyle Arlington said during the ceremony.

Shifting the sixth grade to David Brearley will also benefit Harding by freeing up space and providing more schedule flexibility.

“The projects and allocation of resources were intentionally planned and aligned to support our district goals and the evolving needs of our students,” said Board of Education President Michelle Panichi.

Work is already underway on other bond referendum projects, including athletic field upgrades and efficient HVAC units for every classroom. Renovations are also planned for the Harding and David Brearley auditoriums. Parts of the Harding auditorium have not been updated since the school was built a century ago.

Photo Courtesy of Sheri Berkery