• Bearden Elementary
    Is Turning 80

    Posted by Josh Flory on 11/5/2018
    Susan Dunlap, Principal of Bearden Elementary School, stands next to a sign commemorating the school's opening in 1938.
    Susan Dunlap, Principal of Bearden Elementary School, stands next to a sign commemorating the school's completion in 1938.

    Bearden Elementary School is celebrating a major milestone this month, and school officials are hoping that former teachers and students can help mark the occasion.

    Bearden Elementary was built in 1938, and the school will mark its 80th birthday with an open house on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

    The event will include a display of pictures from different decades and a reception hosted by the PTSO that will sell commemorative T-shirts, Christmas ornaments and other items as a fundraiser.

    School officials are inviting alumni and former faculty to bring their own photos and memorabilia to the open house.

    Principal Susan Dunlap said Bearden has a tradition of educational excellence, and that one thing which makes it special is the number of multi-generation families who have attended the school.

    “We have some third-generation students,” she said. “Their parents went here and their grandparents went here.”

    The Broomes are one family which fits that description. Amy Broome and her husband, Bill, attended Bearden in the 1960’s, her four children all went to the school and her grandchild is currently a student. Amy Broome’s father also attended high school in an annex of the current elementary school.

    Broome said that over the years the school came to feel like a family, and recalled fond memories of teachers and events, including an annual dance festival, safety patrol trips to Washington, D.C., and jump rope fundraisers in the gym.

    While things have changed since she was a student, Broome said that when she returns to the school, “It almost feels like I never left.”

    According to a history provided by Dunlap, the first elementary school in Bearden was a two-room structure completed in 1892 that was built of logs and heated by a potbelly stove. The present Bearden Elementary was completed in 1938, and additions were made in 1949 and 1955.

    Judy Thompson was a teacher at Bearden Elementary for more than 25 years, and said some of the students that she taught have now become close friends.

    Thompson said she’s looking forward to the anniversary celebration, and that it will be a chance to re-connect.

    “I think everyone’s excited about seeing each other,” she said. “There was such love in that school, people who cared about each other and worked together.”

    Bearden Elementary School is pictured on Nov. 5, 2018.