Darbydale celebrates 50th anniversary

 Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
 Third grade teacher Katie Coplin cuts a rug with a student at Darbydale Elementary School. Coplin used to compete as a ballroom dancer and wanted to "get the wallflowers to have fun."

Sounds from the likes of Fats Domino and Chubby Checker filled the Darbydale Elementary School gymnasium on Oct. 26, while girls wearing Pink Ladies jackets practice the long lost art of hula hooping.

Several men were wearing pressed Chino’s while some women danced around in poodle skirts. They were celebrating 50 years of education at Darbydale. To use slang from the fifties, it was totally "Antsville."

"Tonight was a wonderful opportunity to bring the community together," said recently named South-Western City School Superintendent Bill Wise. "You have two to three generations of families coming back and remembering the experience they themselves had and insuring those memories."

One such person reliving the elementary days was former student Jackie Hiles. Hiles attended Darbydale from 1959 through 1962.

"The school hasn’t changed that much, but it definitely seems smaller than it used to be," she laughed.

She spent her time perusing the walls of the gym that were lined up with photos of each class from every year the school has been opened, since December of 1957.

Her children went to Darbydale, and now her grandchildren are attending as well.

"I like it a lot," said fourth grader and future skydiving, guitar playing lawyer, Jacob Clark. "I like the teachers and principal the most. They are very friendly."

Perhaps that attitude toward the staff could explain why generations of families have entrusted the school with their own children and sent them off to Darbydale.

"We have very supportive families and students," said Principal Bev Powers. "We also have a great, dedicated staff that devotes itself to learning everyday."

The experience of that dedication could be heard from by current and past students walking the halls at Darbydale Elementary on the fifties themed night.

Louis Wood, the principal of Darbydale when it opened its doors in 1957, was also on hand for the celebration.

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