FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
April 14, 2016 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204
Vejar Elementary throws a golden birthday party
WALNUT, CA—When Vejar Elementary marked its 50th birthday party, scores of former students, staff, principals, and teachers returned for the milestone celebration, eager to see familiar faces, and share fond memories.
Art Hermosillo was one of the first students to attend the new school as a kindergartner when the doors opened in January 1966.
“We had such a great time!” he said standing in the courtyard of his alma mater reciting every one of his teachers’ names, including the school’s first principal, Doug Rosenow.
“We were always looking forward to the holiday parties at Halloween and Christmas. And I remember the mobile library that would visit the school.”
Mary Trout, who taught at Vejar from 1977-2001, was quick to share her favorite memory at the school.
“It was our fifth grade ‘Let’s Hear it for America’ patriotic performance,” she said. “It was amazing!”
Truman Collins served as the school’s fourth principal, from 1981 to 1988, said that he wouldn’t have missed the party.
“I’m so happy to be here!” he said while shaking hands of dear friends and colleagues.
The party included band and choir performances, memorabilia, and of course, cupcakes for everyone during a special open house held on March 24.
“We have the best staff and students in the world!” said proud Principal Jennifer De Anda to about 400 members of the extended Vejar family gathered at the event.
“It’s been an exciting year of celebration. Receiving the Gold Ribbon Award on the year of our Golden Anniversary is the icing on the cake!” she added.
“I know this school means so much to all of us!” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor about the school that has a “neighborhood feel.”
“Teachers and staff are so committed to student achievement and truly care about every child.”
Vejar students left a long-lasting imprint on a tile wall created to commemorate the event.
Fifth grade teacher Karen Montgomery, who has called Vejar her home for the past 27 years, used her talents to stitch together a collection of the school’s logo t-shirts to create a 50th anniversary quilt.
“My hope was that the gift would celebrate the Vejar family and add beauty and a sense of school pride for all that see it.”
The choir even led the audience in a special rendition of the Birthday Song, written by teacher Pam Acosta.
“Happy Birthday Vejar. Happy Birthday with cheer. The year was 1966 that kids first came here!”
Fifty years of school history was on display in the school library with tables filled with yearbooks and photos, news clippings, and artifacts from the past five decades, including an “antique” rotary telephone and record player.
Retired administrator Yvonne Sevilla, who also served as the school’s ninth principal, shared details of its rich history including the early years when the school was surrounded by farmland, creeks, and orchards.
“In the 1960’s things looked quite different at the school – there was no air conditioning, no carpet or phones. Men wore ties and women wore dresses everyday!” she exclaimed.
Vejar was built on the site of the Ricardo Spanish land grant and its logo – a cowboy boot- represents the Vaqueros cowboys who took care of the rancho during the 1800’s.
A colorful carved four-foot-tall version created by fifth grade student Mora Hanks and WVUSD carpenter Mike Bromberg was unveiled at the party.
The school’s longtime motto “Future Leaders Learn Here” was etched above a cowboy on horseback, depicted on the plaque.
“It’s so very true!” Sevilla commented. “And for that, we need to clap and cheer right now!”
Vejar Elementary celebrates its 50th birthday, shown with current and former staff members, district administration, board members, and city officials.
Former Vejar staff and students checked in during the 50th birthday celebration.
Principal Jennifer De Anda welcomes audience to Vejar Elementary School’s 50th birthday party.
Principal Jennifer De Anda and retired principal Yvonne Sevilla lead Vejar’s 50th birthday celebration.
Current and former staff and students pour over five decades of memorabilia on display in the school library.
Vejar choir sings a special Happy Birthday song during the party.
Teacher Karen Montgomery stitched a 50th anniversary quilt for the party from Vejar t-shirts.