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Chamisa Elementary School turns 40

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By Special to the Monitor

Tuesday, Chamisa Elementary School is taking the time to recognize a major milestone. The school will host its 40th birthday with a community wide celebration.The school will pay tribute to their history with a short presentation at 8:15 a.m., which will feature some very special guests. Five former principals will be returning to the site to share their fondest memories of their elementary days. The principals include Jean Neely, Peter Grimes, Cookie Halstead, Tom Christofferson and Kate Thomas.Halstead was principal when the school celebrated 30 years and recalls the time fondly. “It all started during the previous summer when I was working in my office,” Halstead said. “This older gentleman and his wife came by and asked if they could walk around the school. I started visiting with them and found that he had been the first principaleeand he actually designed the school for his doctorate project. He agreed to attend our 30th celebration and the idea was formed.”The same idea has launched the plans to recognize the school’s 40th anniversary, which includes day and evening festivities. The morning celebration will include dignitaries like retiring Superintendent Dr. Jim Anderson, Assistant Superintendent Mary McLeod and other school officials. Former staff and students will also return to mark the occasion.Chamisa teacher Sue Bloss has worked her art curriculum to aid the celebration. A variety of contributions from classroom projects decorate the entire school. Handmade, paper cupcakes were created by every student and line the halls throughout the school.The morning bash will include short stories and brief presentations from the former leaders about their time at the helm. Chamisa’s new principal Cindy Montoya will be the Mistress of Ceremonies. Montoya said she has enjoyed the many aspects of Chamisa from family to community and values the importance of celebrating achievement. “Forty is a milestone and celebrations unite us and give us the opportunity to come together as a community,” Montoya said. “This will be a lively celebration and a chance to reconnect to the school and see some old friends.”The children will be singing “Happy Birthday” and students will have an opportunity to select from more than 269 homemade cupcakes. The evening event will kick off at 6 p.m. with a community-wide potluck. It will also be a chance to tour around the school, which is known for its interesting design. “We are most excited about celebrating this birthday because after 40 years, the innovative architecture style continues to support the team concept,” Montoya said.“Chamisa is a unique school,” former principal Cookie Halstead said. “When outstanding teachers work together, their teaching expertise grows exponentially. This creates an optimum learning environment for each student’s unique educational needs.”Former Chamisa teacher, Tricia Javernick made the invitations for the event. Javerick, who now stays home with some future Cheetahs of her own, is a representative for Stampin’ Up, which sells the items used to create the invitations. The evening will also include some special entertainment, which will be a surprise to the many guests that evening. Last but not least, 40 cakes are being made for some added fun. The idea was a result of a booklet from Craig Martin in celebration of Chamisa’s 30th birthday 10 years ago.To learn more about the festivities, call the party coordinator at 672-4089 or e-mail teemeup@concentric.net.