Students and staff honor retiring principal

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Principal Thomas Lenton served with Austintown Elementary School for 19 years and said being principal was a calling for him, and working at the school was the culmination of that calling.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Austintown Elementary School honored their principal on May 29 before his retirement at the end of the school year. The students and staff sprayed Lenton with silly string, gave him beaded necklaces and shot confetti in the air.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Austintown Elementary's PTA and staff organized the surprise event to honor principal Thomas Lenton. They snuck the students out of the building while Lenton was in a meeting. When Lenton walked outside, the students and staff cheered for him.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Principal Thomas Lenton did not know that the school was going to honor him at the end of the last day. On top of the event, his daughters and grandson surprised him at the event as well. Pictured are, from left, Hillary, Thomas and Beatrice Lenton, along with William Lyons.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Austintown Elementary School thanked principal Lenton for all he has done during his time as a principal. He walked around the school where the students gave him high fives and the staff members hugged him.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

Austintown Elementary School honored their principal on his last day before entering retirement on May 29.

The PTA organized the “clap out” with the staff of the school. The students and teachers clapped for principal Thomas Lenton as he walked past. He shared hugs with many of the school staff members as the students sprayed him in silly string.

“I am speechless and overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of the staff, PTA and the boys and girls at the school,” said Lenton, with a smile on his face. He spent 19 years with the school system and said he was “blessed to be here.”

The PTA and teachers snuck the students out of the school using the side and back exits while Lenton was in a meeting. He walked out to students lined up all around the building thanking him for his time as principal. Many of the staff members spoke highly about him.

“It’s been the best part of my career,” said Lenton. He referred to working with the school as the culmination of a calling where he truly knew that he belonged. He said he is grateful for having the opportunity to serve as principal at the school.

In addition to having his students, Lenton’s daughters and grandson surprised him at the school. They embraced him as he turned the first corner. The PTA invited them to the event to make it even more special for Lenton.

“He’s been the greatest person to me and my children,” said Bethany Martinez, the PTA president, “He deserved a proper send out.”

The event took place on the students’ last day of school. They had their celebration at the end of the school day and got ready to leave after.

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