With generations sitting next to generations, current students beside former students, young teachers listening to retired teachers, the Old Orchard Elementary School community celebrated its 50th anniversary Friday.
During an assembly that was open to alumni, former staff and the current school body alike, those in attendance received a brief history and some interesting facts on how people were connected to the school over the years.
In addition to former students sharing stories about what made Old Orchard special to them, Newhall School District board members Sue Solomon and Donna Rose shared how their children and families made the school their home decades ago.
“Our decision to move here was the best decision as a family we could’ve made. Our (two children) … thrived here, and they’re now adults,” Rose said. “And we’re very appreciative of the staff and education they received here at Old Orchard Elementary School.”
The topic of family, and the closeness of the community that started and was at the heart of Valencia for many years, ran throughout nearly every speech given Friday.
“Old Orchard has a very special place in my heart because my kids went here and as a parent, I was extremely involved here,” said Solomon. “The feeling that’s come through Old Orchard through all of today’s talks… is the feeling of family.”
At the end of the assembly, after former superintendents J. Michael McGrath and Marc Winger spoke to how Old Orchard supported the district during their tenure, the site staff and each grade of the school inserted items they had made into a time capsule.
The items includes letters to the future administration, letters to the sixth-grade class of 2045, a student council banner and other mementos and messages of the 2020 classes. The time capsule is set to open on the school’s 75th anniversary.
“Right now, we are all living in a very special moment,” Solomon added. “We’re celebrating Old Orchard’s 50th birthday, but we’re celebrating it with generations of families.”