It was a perfect early autumn Sunday afternoon as past and present students, teachers, staff and parents came together at Edmonds Elementary to celebrate 50 years of delivering quality, community-driven education to generations of local kids.
The program included remarks by principal Brett Hagen, 26-year veteran teacher Karyn Heinekin and School Board member Diana White, whose four children attended Edmonds Elementary. Recognizing the several alums in the audience who now have children and grandchildren attending the school, White remarked on how special it is “to see the continuity of generations passing through.”
A number of former students and faculty also provided remarks and reminisces. Katy Brock recalled how she entered the “first, first-grade class the year the school opened in 1966,” and Claudine Pruitt shared how she met her husband in 1982 when they were both 6th-grade students.
But the highlight of the program came when 4th-grade student Colby DeBoer and 6th grader Hannah Stively read their student essays, providing very personal glimpses into how attending Edmonds Elementary helped shape their lives. Both had high praise for their teachers.
“From the moment you walk in the door at Edmonds Elementary, you know it will be a great year,” said DeBoer. “All the teachers are so inviting, it makes you feel truly at home. It is just an amazing place to learn. I wouldn’t want to go to any other elementary school than Edmonds.”
“I started out in third grade when I was 9,” wrote Stively,” and it was hard leaving my friends and coming to a new school.” She went on to share how she and her first teacher had a “special connection because we had the same birthday,” and how she quickly became “my favorite teacher.” Along the way other teachers taught her to sew, to play the cello, and helped her over the bumps in reading, math and social studies. “Edmonds Elementary has some amazing teachers,” she concluded. “You should really take the time to get to know them.”
Called Olympic Elementary when it first opened in 1966 and re-named Edmonds Elementary in 1990, the school has a tradition of being close to the community it serves.
“Community is an important part of our school,” said Principal Brett Hagen, “and our growing student body means that we’ll be able to keep this connection strong. This year our enrollment tops 360 students, and we’ve gone from two to four kindergarten classes, so the future promises to be bright. We’re really looking forward to the next 50 years!”
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel