Celebrating 50 Years of Education

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The year was 1963, John F. Kennedy was president of the United States, the Beatles released their first album “Please Please Me” in the United Kingdom, the United States Postal Service introduced zip codes, the character of Iron Man made his Marvel Comics debut and, in Bellmore, the St. Marks Avenue School opened its doors. To commemorate its 50-year birthday, the school held a celebration of education in the auditorium. As the students were led into the auditorium, they were able to view a table of artifacts from the 1960s as well as photos of the original building and its students.  

“Fifty years ago from today was the first time this building became a school,” said Principal Clifford Molinelli, who served as master of ceremonies. “Originally, the students were supposed to move into the building in the fall, but it took longer than anticipated to build. On May 1, 1963, it officially opened to students and teachers. A number of years later the school name was changed to Charles A. Reinhard Early Childhood Center to honor long-serving Board of Education member Charles A. Reinhard.”

During the celebration, the school welcomed retired teacher Lester Smith, former students, and current Bellmore employees Marla Musgnug and Fran Sonesen, all of whom were on hand for the opening of the building in 1963; showed a video with student answers to the question “What do you think happened 50 years ago?”; staff responses to “what life was really like 50 years ago”; and student and staff reactions to “What do you think life will be like in 50 years?” A “Price Is Right”-themed game show was played, with student participants guessing the prices of items such as a stamp (five cents), a magazine (35 cents), milk (25 cents) and a brand-new car ($3,000).

 As a special treat for the current Reinhard students, a memory book was created featuring student favorites, games that were played, fan-favorite sports teams and popular clothing and hairstyles. The memory book will be placed inside a backpack and left in the school library with directions to not open until 2038.

To conclude the celebration, the students and staff sang “Happy Birthday” and gathered on the school field to form a giant “50.”