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This 50-year-old group of class individual photos, from Jackson Elementary’s second year, was provided by alumnus Daniel Quillen, whose younger self is in the second row from the top, fifth from the right.
Courtesy of Daniel Quillen

Attention, Jackson Elementary alumni: 50-year anniversary event April 20

During the open house for School District 11's Jackson Elementary addition in 2010, D-11 Superintendent Nick Gledich visited one of the new classrooms and presented his card to an inquisitive student. (Gledich, who started in 2009, is retiring after this school year.)
Westside Pioneer file photo
April 2, 2018
       Jackson Elementary will celebrate its 50th anniversary in a two-hour ceremony at the District 11 public school Friday evening, April 20.
       The event will be from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is invited - particularly former students and staff from the Holland Park school, located at 4340 Edwinstowe Ave.
       According to kindergarten teacher Amanda Martinez, who is leading the anniversary planning, there will be photos and other memorabilia, displays/reports by current students (a decade is assigned to each grade) and student artwork inspired by a half-century ago (such as types of phones, musicians and artists).
       “We're trying not to do too much, but at the same time we don't want to not do enough,” Martinez said.
       Among those expected to be on hand are Anne Dancy, who was principal for 21 years (retiring in 2011); and Jackie Robbie, who has taught art to Jackson students for 27 years.
       Jackson opened in the fall of 1966, at a time when the Holland Park subdivision was still growing.
       Technically, the school now is actually 51 years old. In any case, reaching that milestone is “huge,” said Sara Miller, who has been school principal since 2011.
  Pictured above are the principals who have (in turn) led Jackson Elementary for its last 29 years. Sara Miller (left) has held that position since 2011. She took over after the retirement that year of Anne Dancy (right), who came on as Jackson principal in the spring of 1990.
Westside Pioneer file photos
“It's very exciting and humbling to be part of a school with such a rich history. I feel like part of a legacy.”
       Also impressed by the passage of time is Daniel Quillen, who attended Jackson as a fifth-grader in its first year. At the time, it was a K-6 school, and he would also go there as a sixth-grader in 1967-68.
       Asked in a phone interview what he recalled, Quillen said he liked both his classroom teachers, but his strongest memory was of the times he and classmates tried to play football on the lawn in front of the school. Just like today, it's the school's only place with grass (the school's playground is gravel). Also just like today, the lawn is not a designated play area.
       “The principal [Frederick Dickinson] kept chasing us off the lawn,” laughed Quillen, who worked many years as a human resources director and is now retired. “We didn't think that was fair. It looked like fun to play on.”
       He said that as he continued on through school, also attending Holmes Middle and later Coronado High, he was joined at those schools by “about half of
A tree that was planted in front of Jackson Elementary in 1998 to honor deceased staffer Shirley Opperman had to be transplanted about 50 feet to the north as part of an addition project. Above, an equipment operator in October 2009 works around the tree (which is still there).
Westside Pioneer file photo
the kids in my Jackson class photo. Two of them were at our 40-year high school reunion four years ago.”
       Few people can claim as much time at Jackson as Linda Wilson. She went to school there in the 1970s (graduating from Coronado in 1984), then became a Jackson parent, and now she's employed as a kindergarten aide.
       “It's always felt like home,” she explained. “The school's staff was encouraging and caring, but they knew how to give kids an extra push. I needed it too when I was going here.”
       A committee of staff and parents is planning the anniversary. Anyone interested in participating can call the school at 328-5800.
       In other Jackson news, two teachers completed the necessary work for National Board Certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
       The two teachers are Janine Herbertson (first time) and Camla Schultaz (renewal).

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