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Katonah Elementary School Holds 75th Birthday Bash

Katonah Elementary School students at the school's 75th birthday assembly. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Katonah Elementary School students at the school's 75th birthday assembly. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Katonah Elementary School's mascot, a bulldog, appears at a 75th birthday assembly. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Terry Costin, Katonah Elementary School's assistant principal, speaks at the school's 75th birthday celebration. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A packed student assembly is held at Katonah Elementary School for the school's 75th birthday. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Pictured is Cristy Harris, Katonah Elementary School's principal. Harris is also an alumnus of the school. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
The front driveway for Katonah Elementary School was painted yellow as a nod to the yellow brick road from "The Wizard of Oz." Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Cornerstones from Katonah Elementary School were removed due to the school's 75th birthday celebration. Pictured is a gap made visible by the removal of a cornerstone. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Pictured are Katonah Elementary School's cornerstones, which were removed for the school's 75th birthday celebration. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A person dressed as the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz," which was used as a theme for Katonah Elementary School's 75th birthday because the movie was released the same year as the school was built. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

KATONAH, N.Y. -- The students and staff of Katonah Elementary School (KES), held a packed celebration recently for the buildings 75th anniversary.

The birthday bash, held on June 5, included a large student assembly in the school's gym.

"It's been a great, great day," KES Assistant Principal Terry Costin said at the assembly.

Costin guided the students in a song, which described KES as a "learning community."

A photo montage of the celebration's highlights was also presented. Referencing the technological changes over the year's of the school's history, Costin noted that photos of an event can now be displayed on the same day.

The birthday bash incorporated a theme based on "The Wizard of Oz," as the movie was released in 1939, the same year that the school opened. Several adults were dressed in costumes for the movie's characters, while mock yellow brick road paving was placed inside the school.

KES Principal Cristy Harris noted that parents painted a yellow brick road on the school's front driveway, which was made possible with corn starch and food coloring. Yellow balloons and t-shirts were also a ubiquitous site at the celebration.

Aside from serving as the school's top administrator, Harris is also an alumnus of KES and was asked to give her thoughts on the celebration giving both experiences.

“It was really emotional, actually," said Harris, who started kindergarten at KES in 1976 and graduated from John Jay High School in 1989, which is when the school turned 50.

Harris praised the school's staff for their planning of the celebration. She also recalled the various events held for the anniversary, which included removing two cornerstones from the building that contained time capsules with items from 1939 and 1989.

The items from the capsules were made available for students to see, Harris noted, adding that a newer item may be included when the cornerstones and time capsules are placed back into the building.

Harris also said there was a parade, which included a firetruck and convertible vehicles, along with kids who had themes by each grade.

Several people with longstanding ties to KES were at the school on Friday.

Among them was Jean Reidy, who worked at the school from 1947 to 1956 when it was for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. During her time at the school, which was prior to the opening of John Jay, Reidy recalled that she was a librarian and tough senior English.

“I think it’s a delight to be here," she said.

Alexandra Johnson, whose nickname is "Zannie," went to KES in the 1950s. She mentioned that three generations of her family have taught in local schools, including her mother at KES, herself at Increase Miller Elementary School (IMES), and her middle son at both KES and IMES.

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