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Edgewood's Joyous Centennial Celebration

Edgewood100Edgewood School’s 100-year celebration on Monday January 7, 2018 was an uplifting event that concluded with the long-anticipated time opening of the time capsule. Students, parents, teachers and alumni gathered in the gym as MC and School Principal Dr. Scott Houseknecht used slides, songs and interviews to reflect on the school’s 100 years. Meanwhile, Assistant Principal William Yang livened the audience as he acted as a newscaster, moving through the crowd to interview different audience members.

Throughout the presentation, the audience saw how much Edgewood has changed since its founding in 1919. The school’s physical appearance was quite different; as Edgewood alumnus and Princeton emeritus professor Carl Schorske remembers, the building used to be surrounded by a beautiful apple orchard. He spent recess picking and eating apples. The building was also physically smaller, and before the expansion it was so overcrowded that the school secretary remembers three portable classrooms were brought in to accommodate all of the students.

There was no PTA until Edgewood’s 10th year, making this the PTA’s 90th anniversary. In the 1940s, the student-athletes wore black and gold, but they began wearing the current blue uniforms by the 50th anniversary. On that same anniversary, former Edgewood teacher Helen Holtz presented a 600- page book handwritten book depicting the history of Scarsdale. On the 75th anniversary, art teacher Helen Pasternak orchestrated a project to create a set of murals that tell the history of Edgewood school. Once the project was complete, Pasternak wrapped it in black paper and put a bow on the center before she unwrapped it and revealed it to the school on the anniversary. This was also the year that the school created the time capsule that was opened 25 years later at the assembly on Monday. The school also had an 88th celebration, where Schorske came in to speak to the kids.

On Monday, many Edgewood alumni were present as faculty and residents shared heartwarming stories from the EdgewoodMcCannDebbie Franco chats with her first grade teacher Alice Gaskinschool’s past. Current Edgewood students interviewed former teachers and alumni before the assembly began to hear about their lives at Edgewood. Susie Edwards Kelly, whose children are the fourth generation in her family to attend told the children that her parents met at Edgewood when they went there as children. Former teacher Ruth Friendly, who will celebrate her 95th birthday in February was there with her son, former Village Mayor Jon Mark. We met former first grade teacher Alice Gaskin, former third grade teacher Margaret O’Farrell and alumni Debra Franco – or Debra McCann as she was known as a student. The oldest former student in attendance was James Conlan, who was born in 1936 and attended Edgewood School from 1941-48. The Conlans’ have five generations in the Edgewood community and three at Edgewood Elementary School.

The audience welcomed Nancy Nemlich, who retired as Edgewood’s school secretary eight years ago. Ms. Nemlich began working at the school in 1966, where she also served as the sole lunch supervisor for the 8 to 10 kids who stayed in school for lunch. Her contributions to the school were so appreciated that upon her retirement the administration named the stage after her,.

While there was much reflection and nostalgia, the students were most excited about the time capsule that was about to be opened. The capsule that was created for the 75th anniversary was only meant to be the size of a laptop, but it swelled to the size of a kitchen table with the students’ many contributions. In fact, at the time, each class was given a shoe box to fill and these many boxes were hidden in the wall of the school. In 2005, the school underwent construction and in the process the place where the time capsule was hidden was revealed. Much to the students’ chagrin in 2005, they were no permitted to EdgewoodFriendlyFormer teacher Ruth Friendly is interviewed by current Edgewood students.open the capsule. However, they still wanted to contribute to the capsule, so they made cards for future students to read in fourteen years. At the celebration on Monday, the audience heard excerpts of the letters, in which past students spoke about their life in school and current events from 2005.

Before opening the capsule, Dr. Houseknecht warned the kids that the items in it may be decayed, and that they should not feel disappointed if they were. Dramatic music began to play, and he opened the capsule slowly... a student wearing a white wig popped out, claiming he had been in the capsule for years, which caused an eruption of laughter in the kids’ section. The students were then thrilled to find that the many boxes within the capsule were intact. The scene was somewhat anticlimactic because the boxes in the capsule were not opened during the assembly. A class plans on opening them and analyzing the contents later. However, the students were still pleased to see a photo album and drawings from former students, and they look forward to seeing what is inside the well-preserved boxes.

This event, along with a series of celebrations to mark the school’s 100th anniversary, were organized by the school's administration in cooperation with PTA Co-Presidents Heedan Chung and Susie Smith. Heedan made short remarks about her time at the 60th anniversary as a 4th grader and shared a photo of moms dressed up as flappers from a musical revue called Edgewoodmania.

An adult Edgewood chorus will start on January 10 at 7:30 pm. Anyone interested should email edgewoodschoolpta@gmail.com.EdgewoodHouseknechtEdgewoodTimeCapsuleEdgewoodBoyEdgewoodPTAPresPTA Presidents Heedan Chung and Susie Smith

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