This fall, Waco Elementary School will be honoring its 100-year history with an outdoor community celebration and monthly history-focused activities.
In the meantime, the school has been dusting off old sports trophies to be displayed in mirrored cases, highlighting the school’s historical artifacts, said Principal Marsha Vanhook.
Waco Elementary broke ground January 1912 and opened later that year.
Originally designed to offer grades K-12, some of the early graduating classes consisted of no more than 12 to 15 students, said Vanhook.
They hope to discover more about the school’s history as their 100-year celebration progresses, she said.
The school now houses more than 480 students, pre-kindergarten through 5th grade.
“We want to celebrate the fact that this school is, basically, in the same building,” Vanhook said. “There have been renovations and improvements but the school has been here 100 years.”
Waco Elementary will kick off the next school year with a “huge community outdoor event,” Vanhook said, during which they will have a dedication for the brand new walking trail they plan to build.
“Our goal is to take a piece of our property and build a paved trail as a gift to the community; they have been so supportive of this school,” she said.
And because the school is “really big into health and wellness,” the dedication ceremony will include a 5K race and several wellness activities, she said.
After the kick-off event, the school will continue its celebration with monthly activities coordinated by the “100-year Celebration Planning Committee” -- a group of around 20 community members and Waco graduates.
“We are inviting the community to be a part of our planning process,” said Vanhook, who encourages everyone to come to the next meeting on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. in the school’s media center.
Even if someone could not be a part of the committee, the school welcomes people to come forward with old pictures, artifacts and tales that could help them better illustrate the schools’ 100-year history, she said. Part of these efforts will include collecting oral histories from past alumni, teachers, principals, and parents of Waco students.
“Pictures have started coming in from people who say their mother had taught here or their grandfather had been principal here,” Vanhook said. They would also like to collect as many alumni pictures as possible, she said.
Vanhook is particularly excited about one picture that was believed to be taken during the school’s construction in 1912. The building in the picture looks like the school, minus the shrubs and stairs, she said.
As part of the monthly activities, the planning committee discussed organizing a Christmas program that will portray Christmases over the past century.
During one month, the committee wants to focus on technology and show students the differences between the resources available to them back then and what is available to them now.
As a “next generation technology school,” students currently use iPads and online resources, Vanhook said.
To truly show how different school was 100 years ago, the committee plans to duplicate features of an old classroom inside their new classrooms, she said.
The parent/teacher organization is coordinating fundraisers for next year’s events starting with a chili supper on Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at Waco Elementary.
In the event of inclement weather, the chili supper will be moved to March 2.
The cost of the event will be $3 and donations will be accepted at that time. All proceeds from the chili supper will go to the 100-year celebration.