Buena Vista celebrates its 95th birthday

       Buena Vista Elementary staffers and students from past days joined their current counterparts in the school gym for a celebration of the school's 95th anniversary Oct. 11.
       Also helping with the festivities - which included the out-loud reading of a 95-year-old newspaper article about then-new BV, a song, old pictures, cake and punch - were District 11 Superintendent Terry Bishop and State Representative Michael Merrifield.
       In addition, the last 24 years of Buena Vista principalship was represented in Kay Branine (1982-88), Alan Rasmussen (1988-2005) and current principal Brenda Smith. About 100 in all attended what Smith called a “rededication” of the school.
       The furthest back any student went was John McKinley, who was a student from 1931 to '38. He recalled walking to Buena Vista from his home in the 2300 block of Kiowa Street. “I have good memories,” he said. “It was a fine school.”
       Juanita (Jackson) Baxter, a student from 1936-42, came to the event with a scrapbook, including a news article showing when the second floor was added to Buena Vista's main building (1936). Smith said that previously that piece of history had been unknown to her.
       Jackson also had several recollections of her school days. One was that every fall her gym teacher would take the class outside to pull weeds that had grown during the summer. She remembered that the teacher had an allergy, and would stay with the class holding a handkerchief over her face.
       Jean Fero is a multi-generation Buena Vista person. Her husband and grandchildren attended, and one of her daughters is a teacher's aide. “It's a nice neighborhood school,” she said. “It's a different atmosphere than in other schools. Everyone knows each other. It's like the whole Westside.”
       Perhaps the most loyal Buena Vista-ite was Terri Schneider, who gamely donned the school's tiger mascot outfit for the event. She had attended the school from 1965-70 and has a daughter who just finished there. If a niece goes next year, she'll be the “sixth generation” from the family at BV, Schneider said. A favorite memory from her era was track day. “We wore white T-shirts and sailor hats,” she remembered. “Everyone would sign the hats. It was good fun.”

Westside Pioneer article