Old days turn new again at Pike’s 50th
It had been nearly 50 years ago, so Sandra Olson was just a bit vague on the details. As a student at then-recently opened Pike
Elementary, she remembered winning a contest for a drawing she did of a pick and ax, “but I don't know what it was for.”
Sandra found her answer in a school scrapbook that had been set out on a table for Pike's 50th anniversary celebration in the school gym Feb. 2. Glued to one of the pages was a PTA newsletter for the 1958-59 school year. The logo was her drawing. “There it is,” she exulted. “Oh, that is funny.”
Sandra and her sister, Verna Love - their last name then was Saldi - were among an estimated 150 people who came to the anniversary. The gym had been decorated for the occasion with balloons, posters, party hats and colored paper, and '50s music played. Pike staff and volunteers served out cake, punch and coffee, and people strolled through the gym, looking for familiar faces from their school days or checking out the scrapbooks and the hundreds of snapshots from over the years that had been attached to the walls.
“It's a good school, a good neighborhood,” said Rae Atencio, who has lived in Pike's Mesa Springs neighborhood for 45 years. “My kids (two) went there, and my grandkids (five) go there now.”
Other returning parents were Vera and Frank Jamison, who lived on nearby Parker Street when the school opened and still haven't moved. “We were glad it opened,” Vera said, because Pike was so much closer than Lincoln Elementary (off Cascade Avenue), where their two oldest children had gone.
Mike Jamison, their youngest, started as a kindergartener in 1956. “We were the first class to go all the way through,” he recalled proudly. Asked if anything looked different, Mike quipped that “the gym's gotten smaller.”
Clarence Dixon saw all seven of his children go to Pike. “I tell you, I went to a lot of PTA meetings and concerts,” he grinned. He has grandchildren at the school now.
Ieva (Berzins) Hart got to know the Saldi sisters as well as Jeanne (Beatty) Brosa, dating back to the first year of the school, when Ieva was in fifth grade. The foursome had a great time reminiscing over the scrapbooks. “I remember my sixth-grade teacher,” Verna said. “I just loved her.”
“I remember all the teachers,” Jeanne said. “We had some good times.”
Not all memories were academically related. “I had a crush on a guy named Joe,” Ieva laughed, prompting another of the group to remember a boy she had liked.
Ieva and Jeanne established a strong bond at Pike, staying in touch over the past half-century despite one moving out of state for a while. “We were the best of friends,” Jeanne said.
A former teacher who dropped by for the occasion was Jim Owens. Starting at age 21, he was the school's physical education teacher and community school coordinator from 1972 to '76 and eventually taught in District 11 for 32 years. He also had P.E. at Howbert. In those days, the land west of Pike was mostly undeveloped, and he happily recalled being able to motorcycle off- road between the two schools and encounter “only 20 feet of pavement.”
Owens also remembered offering some unusual sporting opportunities at Pike, including boxing and BMX races in the hills behind the school. With modern liability constraints, “there's no way you could do that now,” he said.
Emily Connelly is another long-time resident with two-generation Pike ties. Her first of three kids to attend the school started in 1962, and grandchildren followed. “We had a really great time here,” she said with a smile, looking around at the hubbub in the gym. “It doesn't seem old. It's the same school my kids went to.”
Current Principal Manuel Ramsey said afterward he was pleased with the celebration. “It was exciting to see how much people enjoyed reminiscing,” he said. “Life goes by so fast, and in a world where things can be tough, it's nice to have an event like that.”
Westside Pioneer article