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Garfield Elementary School to Celebrate Its 130th Birthday

Feb. 11, 2020

Garfield Elementary School, one of the most historic buildings in School District U-46, will celebrate its 130th birthday this spring with a party, special classroom projects, and a new plaza to showcase the school’s original school bell. The deadline to order personalized bricks for the new plaza is later this month.

When Garfield opened in 1889, it was first called May Street School for the street on which it is located. It was renamed in recognition of the country’s 20th president on Oct. 4, 1898.

“It is an honor to work at a school with so much history,” said Principal Kyle Bunker. “I meet parents - even grandparents, who tell me they attended Garfield as a student. They have such a great sense of pride about our school.”

The school is planning a birthday party on Saturday, May 9 at 11 a.m. While details are still being finalized, it will likely include music, bounce houses, food vendors, and tours of the building.

Also in commemoration of this special birthday, the school will be constructing a new area in the front of the building where the historic school bell will rest on pillars. The area is to be surrounded by personalizable bricks and two flag poles, one for the American flag and one for the state of Illinois flag.

Bricks are available for $40 and can be engraved with a personalized message. Forms to purchase a brick must be submitted by Feb. 20. To receive an order form, contact or call 847-888-5192.

In addition, Garfield students are working on projects to cover the school’s 130 years of history. Each classroom has been assigned a six-year time span between 1889 and 2020, Bunker said. They will then gather information on what has happened internationally, nationally, and locally in that time frame. The projects will be put on display in the school, including for the May 9 birthday party.

Who: All community members, past and present Garfield students, past and present Garfield families

What: 130th birthday

When: Saturday, May 9 at 11 a.m.

Where: Garfield Elementary School, 420 May St., Elgin