Patrick Robinson
Like a link from the future to the past a young student touches the screen where a slideshow of previous classes at Alki Elementary was being shown. The school celebrated its 100th birthday on March 28 with a special event featuring a group alumni photo, special art prepared by current students, a timeline of significant events, and the collection of memories on video.

SLIDESHOW: Alki Elementary celebrates 100 years of memories

Alki Elementary School celebrated 100 years with a special celebration on Mar. 28 featuring a group alumni photo, the collection of memories on video, a timeline of significant events that wrapped around the auditorium, special student made art displays comparing 1913 to 2013, some special guests and at least two commemorative cakes.


Principal Chanda Otis said, "It's amazing to feel like the Centennial Principal of such a historical school. It has been here for 100 years and we hope for 100 more. I'm proud to say I'm the Principal who is sitting her at this moment. The students are excelling at reading, writing and math. They are acting, doing musicals. We are the 2012 global reading champion. It makes it very exciting for me to come to work every day."

Superintendent Jose Banda was there and said, " I think it's just outstanding to see the community support. The folks I've talked to have memories that go way back about this school. I've always heard this is an amazing community and this really validates that." In his own background he is aware of only a few schools in California where he was born that are 100 years old. "I think about my own experience. I remember vividly the small rural country school when I was a child."

Many former students of all ages attended the event and had memories stretching back to the school's earliest days.

Elaine Wise Townsend who attended from 1932 to 1936 said, "I remember riding the street car. We lived out on Harbor Avenue. My dad had started a fuel business there. He chose that spot because it was at the end of the railroad line. He needed the railroad to deliver the coal and wood. We rented a little bungalow across the street. My mother never liked Harbor Avenue. When I was old enough to go to school I road the streetcar which let me off at 59th. It was a great place to grow up."

93 year old Phyllis Blakkestad was there to visit with everyone. She attended in the late 1920's and early 1930's.

Helen Stevens Teasley who attended from 1935 to 1941 said, "We got to ride the streetcar and it was so exciting. It cost 2 and a half cents so it cost you 5 cents for the day. They had all kinds of things for us to learn and do. We all got a good start here." Her classmate Ellen Kruller Andrews said, "I enjoyed my singing group in Miss Risser's class. I was picked to have a special part in a play we put on down at the Fieldhouse. I was the Sandman."

Elvalene Arbak Hayward who attended from 1940 to 1942 said, "I lived just a few blocks from the school. I think of a favorite teacher, Miss Foss. She was an art teacher and we did a lot of calisthenics in the room even though we didn't have a gym, especially on rainy days. She taught us how to do flower arrangements. We entered a flower show at the Civic Auditorium and all of us girls brought flowers. I did a little japanese garden in my mother's black vase and I had a mirror for a lake and I got honorable mention. I thought that was good. I remember doing an operetta in 1941 and Carol Elliot was Queen Bee. She went on to marry Clyde Dunn Jr. of the West Seattle Herald. The fifth grade girls were Canterbury Belles, the sixth graders were moonbeams, and the boys were worker bees. The whole class would walk down to the Fieldhouse to practice on the stage. Our mothers made the costumes and it was one of the biggest events i remember at the school."

Also on hand were David Dockendorf "96-'98 and Jeanne Smart '02-'05 former Alki Elementary Principals.

The event was chaired by Alki Elementary PTA member Amy Bannister.

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