Public schools are often the center of the community; most of the children have attended at one time or another. Celebrating the fact that a school has been in existence for 50 years is a wonderful time to get the community involved yet another time. Begin planning the celebration at least several months in advance so everyone involved will have time to put it in their calendar.
Celebration Fundraising Fair
Plan a fundraising fair for the weekend of the anniversary. This is a fun time for the current students to get involved in the celebration. You can plan your speeches and public announcements for a time during the fair. Have carnival games, popcorn and cotton candy. Parents, teachers and older students can volunteer to run the fair. Advertise the fact that the event will both celebrate the school's anniversary and raise funds for it.
Invite alumni from when the school first opened. Set up a stage for them at the fundraiser fair; they can meet current students and parents and give a few speeches throughout the day. Ask them if they want to help work the fair; most of them won't be too old, and they may want to help.
Most schools put together a time capsule from the first year they were open. If your school did that, this is the perfect time to pull it out and look at it. Again, this can be done at the fundraising fair, or at some other time. Once the time capsule is empty, fill it back up with things from the current year, including schedules, class pictures, lunch menus or school newsletters. Put it back away to be opened in another 50 years.
Put together a slide show of pictures from the past 50 years, beginning with the year the school first opened. Show class pictures and photos of the different sports teams and principals. Marvel at the way clothing and buildings have changed during the years. Set the show to top songs during the respective years. Have students in digital or media classes put together the slide show as a class project.
Have a dinner for the alumni of the school. Invite all the alumni, but make special guests of alumni who attended the first year the school was open. Show the time capsule objects, the slide show and possibly future plans for the school. This can be a formal dinner, or plan it in the school gym with teachers serving and clearing.
Rebekah Martin is a freelance writer and tutor. Her work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Mississippi College. Martin teaches her young children at home and also teaches Sunday School to preschoolers.