RALEIGH — The Fuller Elementary School community last week threw a golden anniversary bash to remember as it marked the 50 years and counting since the opening of the school in 1962.
They sang songs, planned special student presentations, and invited former teachers, staff and students to join in the celebration. They packed the schools gym for a morning ceremony that recognized long-serving teachers and others, and throughout the day, visitors could tour classrooms where students presented projects centered on the anniversary and the 1960s.
Principal Cheryl Fenner said the high turn-out and enthusiasm were a testament to a community that always shows up for its school.
We all just really embrace one another, she said.
When Fuller opened, it had 240 African-American students in first through eighth grade and was part of the Raleigh school system. Today, the school has just over 600 students in kindergarten through fifth grade who represent cultures from around the world.
Fuller is a gifted and talented magnet school, which means students can explore a variety of elective courses, and it also has a curriculum for academically gifted students.
Sarah Davis-Walker, who attended the celebration, has been a member of Fuller Elementary since day one.
She first walked through the doors as a seventh-grader, worked as a counselor there for more than 20 years, sent her own son through school there and continues to volunteer with students today.
Fuller is my heart, she said. I consider it a second home.
Davis-Walker said that when the school opened, it had few material resources, but the students made their own fun playing softball and kickball.
She remembers the teachers high expectations, which led the students to compete against one another for the best grades.
It was an absolutely wonderful time, she said.
The schools first principal, Alfred Perry, sat in the front row during last weeks ceremony, where he marveled at the enthusiasm of the Fuller students and the dedicated past and present teachers and staff members.
Perry said hasnt been able to stop telling his friends about the celebration.
It was magnificent, he said.