Twenty years ago, when scrunchies were popular, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” had just hit the charts, and the Internet was barely two years old — Southwood Glen Elementary School opened its doors to kids for the first time. The school celebrated its 20th anniversary Friday, October 11th with a school assembly open to parents at 2:45 and a community event at 4:15. Whether you were a former student, parent, or member of the community, the event was an interesting exploration into the school’s humble beginnings and an enjoyable trip down memory lane.
The event featured a performance by the sixth grade band, led by director Ms. Gannon. She, along with second-grade teacher Mrs. Muirhead, third-grade teacher Ms. Kotlewski and fifth-grade teacher Ms. Butkowski, has been teaching at Southwood Glen for the twenty years it has been established. These teachers are surely remembered by anyone who attended the elementary school, and were recognized for their role in shaping the lives of their students.
Guest speakers from three eras of the school’s life were present as well. Ms. Missy Moeller, a former student from Southwood Glen’s first year of operation and current teacher at Robinwood Elementary, spoke about her beginnings at the school and how it changed her life forever. Tears were shed as everyone present was reminded of the importance of those first years of school, and the great role models our teachers turn out to be. Mrs. Carol Dixon, the memorable former principal of Southwood Glen, also spoke, touching on the excellence of the students who had passed through the doors of the school and their ability to “keep shining in so many ways.” Finally, the current principal Mrs.Christine Cody talked about where the school was headed – the recent developments in technologies used by the students that will offer many new opportunities as time goes on, opportunities that simply weren’t possible twenty years ago. The event also included the creation of a time capsule. Representatives from each class contributed an item that will showcase today’s culture to children in the future, ranging from a tiny Hello Kitty figurine, to class pictures depicting the use of technology, to a cut-out person covered with the favorite things of the kindergarten class. The time capsule created in 1993 will be opened at the school’s 50th anniversary.
As a former student of Southwood Glen, the event was an enjoyable experience – seeing many of my favorite teachers, in some cases for the first time in years, was a wonderful way to revisit the elementary school life that now seems so far away. Celebrations like these help us remember where we came from, and recognize the extent to which our past experiences and relationships, however subtle, have shaped us for ever.