Although they attended the school decades apart from one another, students and alumni of Newbridge Road Elementary School were having similar discussions in both the auditorium and faculty room at a 90th anniversary celebration last week.
In the auditorium, sixth-graders were asking alumni if they remembered disco, if school ended at the same time it does now in 1950, and if they did Cold War bomb drills when they were in school.
After, the alumni asked questions of one another, recalling the names of former principals, which neighbors made special treats on Easter and where milk bottles used to be located in the building.
One of those former students –– Valerie Skelly, a member of the Bellmore Historical Society –– explained that while the discussions were different, both were vital to preserving the history of the school and community.
“This celebration is important for this reason,” she said, gesturing to old friends and a former teacher. “It’s important for other generations to feel free enough to ask questions, and for us to talk with each other and see some of the beautiful faces of the children that continue to come to this school.”
Skelly was one of more than a dozen alumni who returned to Newbridge to celebrate 90 years of learning and community. All involved in the celebration said they thought it was important to preserve the history of the Bellmores’ oldest school.
Lynda Brust, a teacher who helped organize the anniversary festivities, said that while some of the history of the school’s beginnings is unknown, the staff found information about the formation of the North Bellmore School District and construction of the school while conducting research for the celebration.
Brust said the first schoolhouse that was established in the community was built in 1891, and a second eight-room building was erected in 1908. The second building, which stood at the same time that Newbridge Road opened in 1924, was destroyed in a fire in 1942.