Kids in costume having fun were the order of the day last Thursday as Oak Hill Elementary celebrated a milestone.
OAK HILL – Oak Hill Elementary School celebrated 40 years in its current building last Thursday with an event featuring past faculty and students from as far back as the 1930s.
Nearly 1,000 filled the school cafeteria to pay tribute to the school’s rich history in Oak Hill with music, dancing and visits from past principals, staff and students from previous decades. Three former principals, school district officials and others came together to acknowledge the history and accomplishments of the school.
“This is more than a celebration of our building. It’s about our school’s long history and spirit,” said Dr. Cathryn Mitchell, school principal. “Every student is involved. The entire community of past teachers, principals and students is part of this celebration.”
The show opened with a video tour of the school, featuring teachers dancing through the hallways and showing off the school to the Happy song.
The video tour of the school gave people a chance to see how the school has changed over time, notably with the addition of walls in the early 2000s. The school initially was constructed as an open concept school with no walls separating the classrooms.
Over time the school added computer labs, an annex to accommodate the growing student population in Southwest Austin, new playgrounds and gardens, and other beautification of the school’s landscaping. The school, which serves kindergarten through fifth-grade, previously also accommodated sixth-grade for a period up until the 1980s.
“With a 40-year history, it was a treat for former faculty and parents to see a tour of the school that has changed significantly over the years,” said Karen Mauldin, parent volunteer and event chairperson. “It was very sentimental for people, and hit a chord because the school has been such a big part of their lives.”
The event also included special decade-specific music, interviews, a time capsule presentation, student performances and appearances by students from as far back as the 1930s. Students were entertained by staff, who gave fun facts about life in 1974, the year the building was constructed. Students, by grade level, presented specific mini-performances highlighting each of the four decades, including pop culture, sayings and songs.
A teacher who taught at Oak Hill in the 1970s and wrote the original Oak Hill school spirit song was on hand to resurrect the song and sing along with the crowd. The event also featured a special presentation of old elementary school photographs of current teachers.
Following the event, a reception was held in the school’s art room with cake and historical scrapbooks on hand for guests and past faculty to view.
Oak Hill Elementary’ s current building was constructed in 1974, though the school originated in the 1920s in Austin. The building was one of the first local elementary schools to be built specifically as an open concept, and was built on one of the largest plots of land for an elementary school in Austin.