Sunnybrae Elementary School students hit the ground running for the school’s 50th year anniversary.
From redesigning the school’s honeybee logo to launching the district’s first running club, principal Josephine Arcaro has been keeping the students and staff busy as bees for the anniversary school year.
At the end of last school year, the PTA had a mural painted on the wall to start the recognition of the anniversary year of 2016. The mural depicts a honey bee hive with the school on one side and a vibrant rainbow on the other.
Student handprints decorate the majority of the adjacent wall so the students could leave their mark on the school. At the beginning of this school year, the new kindergartners added their handprints so all of those in the school during 2016 would always be a part of the the 50th anniversary.
The closing celebration for the 50th anniversary will be a carnival held on June 2 for the school community. PTA president Malissa Wood and Marcy Giambrone, the head of the planning committee, have been planning this alongside the other events this year. The students can expect carnival games, rides and food trucks.
The last anniversary celebration was in 1991-92, for the 25th year Sunnybrae was open. The staff buried a time capsule then that will be unearthed at the end of this year. The 5th graders are already getting together contents to put into the time capsule for the next generation. Among the contents will be a school crest they’re working on together as they learn about family crests in social studies.
Some of the staff members and PTA members remember the 25th anniversary. Gloria Telensio was the head of the planning committee for the 25th anniversary and still an active committee member today, though she’s retiring this year. Mara Zelcons has been teaching at the school for 46 years.
In the midst of her 2nd year at Sunnybrae, Arcaro reflected on the school and the reason to celebrate after 50 years.
“Everyone has a good time together,” she said. “We love laughing, teachers take part in all kinds of after school activities and nighttime events, they’re just committed to the school.”
This year, Arcaro started a running club for 4th and 5th graders and eventually opened it up to 3rd graders as well. Having had experience with a running club while she was teaching in a Philadelphia school, she believed this would be a great way to bond. “Running together, training, running marathons really brought a community together,” she said, “so I thought I would try it here and I never expected it to take off like it did.”
The running club members walk or run three times a week around the neighborhood with Arcaro and lead teachers, usually accompanied by enthusiastic parents as well.
“It’s an amazing activity,” Arcaro said. “It gave me an opportunity to relate to the parents and the kids on a different level.”
Between students, parents and staff members, 75 people participated in the first of two 5K runs this school year.
Arcaro is happy to be part of the community at Sunnybrae and celebrate this milestone with them.
“There’s continuity, and people trust the people that are here,” she said. “You know a school is successful when you walk in the door, you don’t have to do anything, it’s just a feeling that hits you, and that’s what this school has.”