On Tuesday April 29, Donlin Drive Elementary School celebrated its 35th Birthday with an Open House, an Alumni Night and, of, course cake.
"We've got a lot of people coming, a lot of alumni and former staff, so it should be quite an event," said Principal John Sardella, who was outside greeting students and parents as they arrived.
This was more than an average open house.
"Every year we have an open house, but this year it's special because it's the 35th birthday of the school," said Joan Mashayekhi, the PTO president, who was stationed in the gymnasium selling t-shirts, stuffed dragons (the school mascot) and memory calendars. "We've been working really hard all year to get a playground, so our present this year will be phase one of the playground."
Both Sardella and Mashayekhi were right: the event was special, and the turnout was remarkable. Along with current students, parents, teachers and staff, more than 20 former staff members returned to celebrate, including at least five of the teachers who were on staff when the school opened in September of 1972.
The evening kicked off with an open house, where students got show their families what they have accomplished this year. The hallways were bustling with students leading their parents around, pointing out artwork, friends, and classrooms.
While the alumni were most excited to see old teachers and peers, the children were most excited about the playground.
"Our gift to our students and to the building for our 35th birthday is going to be installing playground equipment, two weeks from now, on May 17," said Sardella. "We have been very fortunate to have raised $23,000 this year for our playground."
"This has been a very active year for us," said Mashayekhi. "It's really incredible, we've raised that money in one year, through donations, fundraising, and other events we had here at the school."