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Blanche Sims elementary celebrates 60 years

The original Blanche Sims staff gathered for a photo in 1950. Photo submitted (click for larger version)
November 10, 2010 - Blanche Sims Elementary is 60 years old, "but you can't even tell because of how clean it is," announced Natalie Buch, a fifth grade student, to an audience of former Blanche Sims teachers and students, parents, guests and current students, Nov. 4.

She went on to say, "What I love about Blanche Sims is that everybody cares, nobody gives up on your education, the teachers always care about you. If you ever have a problem, you can talk about it. This Blue Ribbon school is one-of-a-kind, it goes above and beyond – I would know, I've been here for the last six years."

Last week, the elementary school celebrated six decades of educating Lake Orion students. Back in 1950, average salary was just under $3,000 a year, a loaf of bread cost $.14 and nine years would pass before Alaska and Hawaii joined the US as states. It was a world without email and text messages, current Principal Jennifer Goethals told students.

Since then, over 6,000 Lake Orion youth have passed through Blanche Sims' doors.

Darlene (Mason) Hendrix started her education at Blanche Sims and graduated from LOHS in 1963. Pauline Egner taught first grade from 1953 to 1992. Photo by Megan Collier (click for larger version)
Emily Hein, a current student, read memories from Diane Favstad, former second grade teacher at the school during the 60th anniversary celebration: "My personal favorite was an assembly when the Statue of Liberty was refurbished, and we turned the school skeleton into the Statue of Liberty… Many people remember when my room was turned into a rainforest with live plants, tour guides and talking bushes."

Another student read memories from former Principal George Rachels: "I have many joyful memories of the Halloween parade through town and even finding a tooth on a playground covered in snow that one of our students lost in an accident."

Blanche Sims Elementary's namesake is a local teacher from the late 19th and early 20th century. She first shows up in the Review archives in 1934, and in one local news item, she played hostess to the Teacher's Bridge Club. Sims also taught one year at the Howarth Schoolhouse.

Reporter, Lake Orion Review
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