Bell View Elementary celebrates 50 years
Canyons Board of Education member Steve Wrigley and Bell View principal pose for a photo at Bell View’s 50th birthday celebration. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
Gallery: Bell View Elementary celebrates 50 years [2 Images] Click any image to expand.
When Bell View Elementary was built in 1967, tiny trees dotted the park to the front and side of the school.
Fifty years later, a grove of trees shaded current and former students and their families as well as current and former staff and faculty, who came to celebrate the school’s golden anniversary. Birthday cake, face painting and games were among the fun family-friendly activities.
“We wanted to celebrate with the whole community and thought a family carnival would provide fun for everyone,” said Principal Chanci Loran. “We’re hoping to create new memories while remembering older ones.”
Fifth-grader Kylee Minaya said she was having fun on the bounce houses and getting her face painted with her friends.
“I’ve had a lot of fun here with my friends here at school,” she said. “But the best part is the teachers. They’re always respectful and wanting to help us learn.”
Canyons Board of Education member Steve Wrigley was at the celebration along with Superintendent Jim Briscoe.
“It’s exciting to be part of the celebration and spirit of this great community,” Wrigley said. “Students’ academic scores at this school have been improving and it’s with the great support students have from teachers and the community.”
On display were “Happy Birthday Bell View” posters that showed photos through the years, including the school’s first faculty and its present-day staff and faculty. There was also a photograph of the dedication program for the school dated April 20, 1967.
“When we started putting together the 50th event, we hoped some former students would come forward to answer questions like, when did our mascot become the mustang? It isn’t clear that it was a mustang from the beginning as a lot of picture albums show a nautical theme for the school,” Loran said.
Twenty-three-year teaching veteran Colleen Eldridge said when she started teaching, the school was designed with open classrooms. Since then, walls have been built in between the classrooms.
“Open classrooms was the thinking back in the late ’60s and ’70s,” she said. “They thought it would be better, but all it did was make it noisier.”
Eldridge said there have been some other physical changes to the original building, such as a brick wall added around the kindergarten playground and new playground equipment. There also has been improved wiring as well as the added technology in the school.
Last summer, crews improved the parking lot, adding more spaces and better pick-up options.
“Mostly it’s the same old school, but students used to dress up more. Teachers always wore ties or dresses and the only dress-down time was while painting or doing artwork. Teaching now has become more rigorous. Before kindergartners would only count to 100. Now, we need them to be able to identify the numbers. There’s a solid core for reading and students are learning on iPads,” she said.
Eldridge also said that many students who attended Bell View Elementary lived in Draper.
“We had a lot of Draper transfers because we offered year-round schooling at the time and that wasn’t an option there,” she said.
Still, with the changes, Eldridge is content.
“I love this school, the students and the parents,” she said. “It’s felt like home ever since I started working here. It’s a strong and caring community.”