Harelson Elementary celebrates 50 years

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A 50th anniversary or a 50th birthday are all really big deals. It was no different for Harelson Elementary which celebrated the big five-oh.

It was back in 1960 when Harelson Elementary opened its doors for the first time.

"That was 50 years ago, it was so important because there were no schools in the Amphi and Flowing Wells area," said Evelyn Carswell.

Evelyn Carswell was the first principal of the school. She remembers that first day of school like it was yesterday.

"They told me to be prepared for 250 to 275 we opened the doors the day after labor day with 366,"

She never dreamed the school would expand so much from 1960 to 2010.

"Heavens no we were in the desert we were on a dirt road, a dirt road in front and a dirt road on the side," said Evelyn.

Current principal Andy Heinemann was happy to have former students and principals like Carswell on hand for the celebration.

"To have a principal who opened up a school 50 years ago and she still got the energy, we were just thrilled to death to have Evelyn Carswell come back," said Heinemann.

Heinemann has been the principal at the school for nine years and has seen it change and grow during his tenure.

"When you see slides like that kind of show the development of the school and how it has changed, evolved some of the programs that we do are still surviving today that were back in the time 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago," said Heinemann.

The school is considered to be an excelling school and the staff hopes to continue that to the next 50 years.

Harelson has a real since of community, we've got high expectations we get great results, we absolutely have a wonderful teachers and staff.

As for plans for the 100th birthday celebration in the year 2060.

"In 50 more years for the 100th birthday I will be 97 and if I'm around I will be back," said Heinemann.