This year marks the 25th anniversary of Parkland Elementary School, and the school celebrated this milestone by hosting a special community celebration on June 8, 2016, 5-8 pm. Students and parents, along with current and former staff members, came together to enjoy a barbeque supper and to reconnect and share memories.
Parkland School principal Janice Krahn expressed that the evening was intended to be a time of families being together and a time to celebrate. "The aim was to have people bring some lawn chairs and really enjoy the community fellowship," said Krahn.
Along with food and visiting, the Junior High Leadership Team at Parkland organized a number of Kids carnival activies in the gym and on the school grounds. Some of the fun activities included a penny carnival, a petting zoo, a dunk tank, and a candy table.
Celebration attendees will have noticed the donation boxes at the fun activity stations. Demonstrating their understanding of being good neighbours and (global) citizens, the Parkland Junior High Leadership Team also used this event as a great opportunity to raise awareness and funds for a special cause they are supporting called The Thirst Project. The Thirst Project, recently brought to the leadership team's attention, is a charitable organization whose mission is to build a socially-conscious generation of young people who end the global water crisis. All donations to The Thirst Project go directly towards building safe water projects around the world. (See also https://www.thirstproject.org/)
An official ceremony was held outside on the lawn at 6:30 pm, with principal Janice Krahn serving as master of ceremonies. The program began with three grade 2 students presenting some interesting facts about the school. Superintendent Vern Reimer, a former teacher and principal of Parkland, shared some highlights from his years at the school. Speaking on the theme of 'taking the long view,' Reimer highlighted some key moments in the school's 25 year history, and how the principals, teachers, and parents had always taken the 'long view' when investing in their school. He shared how the first Parkland principal, Karl Redekop, had worked to mold a diverse culture into a school centred on relationships and a unified vision. Vern Reimer encouraged the staff and the community to "continue to take the long view, and to continue investing in what's most important--our precious children."
The program continued with two grade 8 students speaking about The Thirst Project, and how Parkland has shaped their life journey so far. The crowd was then treated to a "Jump Rope for Heart" demonstration by several former Parkland students, led by retired teacher Richard Krahn. The evening was capped off with a ceremonial cutting of a large anniversary cake, cut by a student in the 1991 group and a student starting school in fall 2016.
Parkland School officially opened its doors in September of 1991. In the beginning, there were very few homes in the Parkland area, and the school had a population of approximately 300 students and 27 staff members. The students were drawn from three rural schools--in Osterwick, Chortitz, and Reinfeld--that were closing at the time, plus some students from Winkler Elementary. The original staff of 27 consisted of 1 principal, 15 teachers, 7 EAs, 1 SAA, 2 custodians, and 1 librarian. With a current teaching staff of 28 and a student population of 481, the school has seen much growth in the last 25 years. The first portable classroom was added in 2000 to deal with the growth. In 2001, 2 more portables were added, followed by another 2 in 2002 and another 2 in 2009.
See also photo highlights of the celebration below: