After 54 years, it’s down to three weeks before students and staff have their last classes at Schmitz Park Elementary, before moving to the new Genesee Hill Elementary, opening this fall.
Last night, hundreds of people gathered at the school to celebrate its half-century-plus history.
They included members of the extended Schmitz family, which not only donated the land on which the school was built, but has stayed involved with the school all these years:
At the event, we photographed Dietrich Schmitz, great-grandson of Ferdinand and Emma Schmitz, with wife Mary Howland Schmitz and mother Vicki Schmitz Block. Family photos and memorabilia were part of what was displayed around the school last night:
The “love (the Schmitz) family has for this community” was subsequently acknowledged by high-profile Schmitz Park alum, King County Executive Dow Constantine, speaking while holding toddler daughter Sabrina, acknowledging “fond memories of a place that did quite right by us.”
For eight years, Gerrit Kischner has led Schmitz Park as its principal:
He recalled arriving at the school in 2008, when its enrollment was 315 and it was something of a well-kept secret; it has more than doubled since then, to 650, the capacity of the new campus half a mile away.
New memories will be made from the moment that school opens on September 6th, but those from last night will linger as well. The event was organized by parent Fiona Preedy:
After speeches in the courtyard, last night’s celebration moved on to group photos – see some of them after the jump:
Current and former staffers:
The next two, current and former parents:
And these final two, current and former students:
What lies in the future for the Schmitz Park Elementary building and campus? Yet to be determined.