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Derry's South Range school remembers its roots at 50


DERRY — South Range Elementary School previews its 50th anniversary celebration planned for April. The celebration will include a night for past and present staff members to catch up on the history of the school.

Built in 1966, South Range Elementary School will celebrate by giving students and faculty a look into the past.

During the Friday, April 17, school day students will celebrate the school’s history with activities inspired by the many decades the school has lived through.

At night, an event for adults will be held at the school where past principals and school board members will speak about their times at the school and what has changed.

Principal Matt Olsen said he has received RSVPs from former staff members who have not seen the school in more than two decades.

“It will provide a real neat opportunity for folks to mingle and take a walk around the building,” said Olsen.

The night will have appetizers and snacks for attendees and Olsen also hopes it will give former faculty members who have not kept in touch, the chance to reconnect with each other.

“I am hoping it really provides folks the opportunity to catch up with the community”, said Olsen.

Over the course of 50 years the school building has seen several changes, Olsen said.

In 2000 the school built a major addition that added a gymnasium, music room and computer lab. Staff members from years past who have not seen the new additions will get the chance during the night’s festivities.

The school also changed its official colors from red and white to orange and blue. Their logo, a rocket commemorating Alan B. Shepard Jr. the first American in space who was born in Derry, has stayed the same.

While the addition and cosmetic improvements like painting have changed aspects of the building, Olsen said the main entrance has remained the same since 1966.

When it was built, the school cost $695,000 and fit 550 students, according to documents from the original School Survey Committee. The school currently has 330 students.

Those who want to attend the evening reception celebrating the school’s 50 years must RSVP before March 24.


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