University Avenue 50th anniversary planning continues

University Avenue Elementary School staff and faculty continue to prepare for the school’s 50th anniversary celebration that’s set for Saturday, Sept. 29.

The six-member volunteer committee that’s planning the event meets Friday, Aug. 3 at 10 a.m. and again Monday, Aug. 20 at 11 a.m.

Both committee meetings will be at the school.

Last year, University Avenue Elementary became District 11’s first and only aviation and aeronautics specialty school.

University Avenue ACES (Aerospace, Children’s Engineering and Science) now offers kindergarten through fifth-grade students hands-on aerospace and engineering learning at many levels.

Thanks to partnerships with the Anoka County-Blaine Airport, the Jackson Observatory (housed at Jackson Middle School), NASA, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Space Foundation and the Civil Air Patrol, University Avenue ACES students participate in field trips that are designed to enhance and enrich their classroom lessons.

Prior to the start of the 2011-2012 academic year, a 7,000 square-foot addition to the existing University Avenue Elementary School building was completed.

The addition includes a new cafeteria space, a science lab, space for art and music classes, offices and rooms for supplemental on-site school programs.

The planning committee is accepting new members and is looking for school memorabilia, said Debbie Blatz, University ACES volunteer coordinator.

“We are looking for yearbooks, photos, class lists, shirts and anything with the school name and logo on it. We also need school historical dates.”

University ACES first opened its doors to students in 1961 with the capacity to hold 980 students in kindergarten to sixth grade.

Charles Albro was the inaugural principal. He held the position for many years.

Other previous principals included Paul Tinquist, J. Anne Hennessey, Bonnie Johnson and Tamera Vanoverbeke. Anissa Cravens is the school’s current principal. “We know of two of the principals who are planning to attend the celebration,” Blatz said.

University Avenue’s longest serving teacher or staff member is third-grade teacher Barb Karst. “This year will be her 44th year at the school,” Blatz said.

If you would like to receive an event invitation or have pictures or memorabilia to share, contact Blatz at 763-506-4530 or e-mail her [email protected].

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]