Arlington Heights school marks 60th birthday

Dryden Elementary School in Arlington Heights is celebrating its 60th birthday on Wednesday, Sept. 12 with a special anniversary event for former students, parents and staff.

Dryden School, 722 S. Dryden Place, is the oldest building in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 that is still being used as a school, said Barb Powers, co-director of the school's library media center.

The celebration starts at 6:30 p.m. at Dryden School and include a special presentation detailing the history of the school and the area.

Organizers are expecting a few original teachers from the 1950s to attend the celebration and will present them with a drawing of the school done by a former Dryden parent, Powers said.

School librarians created a special Dryden Museum website with students in 2010 and have used it as a gathering place for photos, videos, news and artifacts leading up to the 60th anniversary, Powers said.

When Dryden Elementary opened on Sept. 12, 1952 it was a kindergarten through 5th grade school for a little more than 300 students from the Scarsdale neighborhood. Since then the school has undergone three major renovations and grown to about 500 students today, said Becky Dufern, LMC co-director.

School tours will also be available as current students show former students, teachers and parents how the school has changed over the past 60 years, Dufern said.

“A lot of teachers have not been back since they retired, but they have really great memories of their time here,” Dufern said. “I want to give them the opportunity to come back and see how fantastic things are and see how each one of them shaped the school we are today.”

Although the school is larger and more modern than it was in the 1950s, Dufern said some things never change, like the annual Halloween parade through the neighborhood.

Dawn Lange, who taught kindergarten and first grade at Dryden for 24 years, said she's looking forward to seeing old friends and colleagues at the celebration on Wednesday.

She keeps in touch with some of those colleges through a Dryden book club of former teachers ranging from 60-91 years old, gathering once a month to discuss their most recent selection.

“I have really fond memories of my time at Dryden,” she said. “It was really a family-oriented place and it still is now.”

Dryden School in 1952. Courtesy OF Dryden School
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