Monday, Feb. 9


Washington-Monroe School anniversary

Send a link to a friend

[FEB. 9, 2004]  On Feb. 8, 1954, Lincolnites attended a dedication ceremony followed by an open house of the newly built Washington-Monroe School. Fifty years later on the same date Lincolnites again attended a celebration ceremony and open house at the school.

Many previous staff members, students and parents were present at the dedication ceremony, as were several members of the District 27 school board and current staff members.

Some things were alike about the ceremony of yesteryear and yesterday.

  • State Superintendent of Schools J.L. Buford addressed the crowd at the original ceremony.
    District 27 Superintendent Robert Kidd spoke at the anniversary program. Regional Superintendent Jean Anderson was also in attendance.
  • The dedication ceremony included music from the Lincoln Elementary School band.
    The anniversary program featured music from the Washington-Monroe children who participate in District 27's cadet and concert bands, led by Ms. Sue Kuhlmyer.

The program for the anniversary celebration included some interesting facts and trivia about the school. For instance:

  • There have been 88 classroom teachers at the school in the past 50 years, not including numerous speech, music and art teachers who have served Washington-Monroe as well as other schools in the district.
  • The ceiling tiles that were in place on opening day were not the first ceiling tiles to be installed. No explanation was available.
  • The school mascot is the Viking, and the school colors are purple and gold.
  • The school motto is "Washington-Monroe Grade School, Where Minds Grow Strong." Notice the first initials in those two phrases.

Current Washington-Monroe Principal Rebecca Cecil is the fourth principal the school has seen in its 50 years. The first principal was her husband's great-uncle, Harry Jackson. Jackson was followed by Robert Taylor and Marge Lowman.


[to top of second column in this article]

Mr. Jackson had originally planned to attend the ceremony on Sunday but was unable to make the four-hour drive from his home, due to weather conditions. He is currently planning a trip to Lincoln in the spring and a tour of the school at that time.

Ms. Lowman was not only a principal at W-M, but she was also the first, and only, female president of the Illinois Principals Association.

There have been four superintendents over Washington-Monroe School in the last 50 years. They are D.F. Nichols, Harry Augspurger, Les Plotner and Dr. Robert Kidd.

Another interesting fact that was mentioned referred to District 27 school board member Leonard Janet. He has been involved in multiple roles at the school for most of his life, having been a student, teacher, parent and now board member.

The building is still very much the way it was originally. The original construction cost for the whole school was $583,324.35. This included equipment, fees and general contracts.

Superintendent Kidd said a new roof was put on recently, which cost the district a quarter-million dollars.

Mrs. Cecil said the school has seen a few changes through the years. For instance, what is now the library was originally known as the dining room. Students currently eat in the gym, and the tables are folded away after lunch.

The original projection room has seen many different uses through the years. It has been used as a kindergarten room, a Title program resource room, and a BD classroom before being transformed into its current purpose, a Writing to Read computer lab for kindergarten and first-grade students.

Several new programs have also been implemented in the last 50 years, and many other rooms have had multiple purposes.

Cecil also expressed appreciation for the PTO, headed by Kathy Huerd; the parents; the planning committee; and the teachers at the school, past and present. She said the school encourages parental involvement.

[Ruth Halpin]

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor