They say life begins at 50. That’s good news for Boulder Hill Elementary School, which is rapidly concluding its 50th school year.
Boulder Hill was the second elementary school in the Oswego School District when it opened its doors in September of 1961. Faculty and students have been marking the half-century occasion with special activities all this week, culminating in an open house set for Friday afternoon.
On Monday and Tuesday, faculty and students showed their school spirit by wearing Boulder Hill shirts (on Monday) and ribbons (on Tuesday). Students also looked into the past, and wrote essays and poems about the difference in schools between 1961 and now.
Those works are on display in one of the school’s main hallways. Also on display are old class photos of parents and teachers who attended Boulder Hill Elementary. Principal Jeff Schafermeyer said kids have been fascinated by these photographs, lining up to look at them before classes.
And on Wednesday, each class took on a service project of their own devising, helping to make Boulder Hill a better place. Kindergartners, for example, wrote a three-verse birthday song for the school, and filmed themselves singing it. That song will play on the big television in the main lobby, according to teacher Jo Simpson, to spread cheer.
First graders set up a collection of change to buy magazine subscriptions for the school. Teacher Kendy Moore said one student donated $25, so they’re well on their way. Students will total up the money by Friday, and decide which magazines to subscribe to, Moore said.
Second graders decided to take an environmental tack, designing posters with tips on conserving water and energy, according to teacher Blake Hafenrichter. The posters included ideas like turning the water off while brushing your teeth, and recycling whatever you can. To put that into practice, they made 600 bookmarks from recycled art paper, Hafenrichter said.
Third graders created “pay it forward” coupon books – students would find someone showing great character, write a compliment on the top coupon, and hand both that and the book to that person. Then the recipient would be charged with finding someone else to compliment, and give the book to, teacher Becky Portincaso said.
Fourth graders took time outside to clear off an outdoor education area and erect a teepee, with Schafermeyer’s help. And fifth graders made anti-bullying posters to hang up around the school, encouraging others to act respectfully to one another.
The week-long celebration, which includes a cupcake party today, is all leading to a past-meets-future open house on Friday. Former teachers, students and staff will be invited back to Boulder Hill for a tour and a look back at its history, provided by locals Roger Matile, Pat Torrance and State Rep. Kay Hatcher, among others.
Lunch with former staff and faculty members begins at noon, with a visitors tour of the school at 1 p.m., an assembly on the school's history with invited speakers at 2:30 p.m., and an open house for everyone who ever attended or worked at Boulder Hill at 4 p.m.
Boulder Hill is also offering commemorative tote bags and bookmarks, celebrating half a century of education. For more information, log onto Boulder Hill’s website, and look for coverage of Friday’s open house next week on Patch.