Memories mark Blacksburg school’s milestone
Correction (October 6, 2012: 10:23 a.m.):
In a previous version Libby Drapeau was misidentified. |
Our corrections policy
BLACKSBURG — Long after the final bell of the school day, hundreds of current and former students packed the halls of Margaret Beeks Elementary School to celebrate the school’s 50th birthday.
The school was officially dedicated to Margaret Beeks in 1962 and held its first classes in September 1963.
The halls were decorated with historical facts and photos, cake was served in the cafeteria and many of the partygoers scanned the crowd for old classmates and teachers.
“Fifty years is a long time for a school to be standing that everyone loves,” said Jeanne Truesdell, event organizer.
Truesdell credited those strong feelings for the large turnout and said they prepared enough cake for 400 guests. She said her group had contacted and invited more than 100 former teachers and administrators.
One of those former teachers was Libby Drapeau, who taught fourth grade there from 1968-94. Drapeau said it was the support of the parents that made the school such a special place.
“They encouraged the teachers to be creative,” Drapeau said.
Drapeau recalled one of her favorite memories being operas she and former music teacher Charlotte McKee had the students create and perform.
Former kindergarten teacher Mary Katharine Davis had a similar favorite memory — the time her class ended a school music performance by giving every child a kazoo.
“This whole auditorium went crazy,” Davis said.
One of the unique features of Margaret Beeks is that many families have had multiple generations attend there, Truesdell said.
David Williams falls into that category, as he had no trouble finding his daughter Maggi’s third-grade classroom because it was the very same room in which he attended third grade.
“It’s pretty cool,” Maggi said of sharing the classroom with her dad.
Caleb and Serena Helsing’s family’s roots stretch one generation further than the Williams’. Both their mother and grandmother also attended the school.
Grandmother Brenda Carroll Frazier said she remembered the day the school was dedicated and Beeks was paraded around the school in the back of a convertible.
“All us students stood out front and waved as she drove the circle,” Frazier said.
Beeks was fondly remembered Wednesday by many of the older attendees and learned about by many of the younger.
The school’s display case was filled with artifacts and historical tidbits of the former teacher and principal, including the fact that she had traveled around the world, and in 45 years of teaching, never missed a day due to illness.
“I really wanted to bring Miss Beeks out of obscurity,” Truesdell said.
No matter if Wednesday’s party guests had met Beeks or not, many of them shared the same feeling as former crossing guard France Garst did about their time spent in the school named for Beeks.
“I enjoyed every minute of it,” Garst said.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
No Comments »
No comments yet.