Jeffco Schools

Spending a half-century shaping Wheat Ridge students

Everitt Middle School celebrates 50 years as ‘focal part’ of community

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When Allison MacDonald was a student at Everitt Middle School, one of the teachers that made the biggest impact on her life was Alice Mahlum, who taught language arts at the school for 28 years.

Years later, when MacDonald started working at the school, then principal Kathy Norton helped shape her as an educator.

“Everitt has always been my destiny,” MacDonald, now a counselor at Everitt, 3900 Kipling St., said at the school’s 50th anniversary celebration on May 10. “I appreciate every day here and the history we all share.”

The anniversary event drew past teachers and staff, like Mahlum, Norton and several others, current educators and alumni, all to celebrate Everitt’s role in the community.

“Wheat Ridge is a small town with a lot of traditions,” said Jeff Gomez, Everitt’s current principal. “Everitt has been a focal part of the city for a very long time, and so we thought it was important to recognize our past.”

The school has about 500 students, and although there has been some discussion about the school becoming a sixth-through-eighth-grade middle school, nothing has been decided. Even if that decision were made, it would not change until 2018.

The event kicked off with an open house, where current and past students and community members could wander through the halls and see how the school has changed. In the library, there were yearbooks from Everitt’s 50 years, school memorabilia, and even pieces of a personal puzzle created by current students.

“We’ve always had a lot of community support at Everitt, and a very tight faculty,” Mahlum said. “It’s been a lot of fun for me to help plan this event over the past few months. It’s been a big walk down memory lane.”

The evening capped off with a presentation from notable figures like Gomez, Wheat Ridge Mayor Joyce Jay, alumn and member of the U.S. Congress Michael Hesse, former U.S. Attorney Troy Eid, former principals Norton and Russ Ramsey, and alumni MacDonald and Elizabeth Bassow-Scheve.

“When I was looking through the yearbooks on display I saw a lot of happy, happy people,” Jay said. “You never, ever lose your education, and schools like Everitt are where we learn skills, safety and acceptance.”

Hesse remembered his time at Everitt as crucial in forming the man he would become, while Eid remembered some of his funny experiences at the school.

“My life was changed because of the people who I encountered here,” Eid said. “Teachers here gave their lives to students, and that’s why there is nothing better or more important than teachers.”

Both Norton and Ramsey remembered a staff that was welcoming and supportive of administrators.

“Staff didn’t just teach students, they grew principals,” Ramsey said. “The remarkable thing is how long staff members have remained here at the school.”

Attendees expressed pride of their time at Everitt, and fond memories of their time and the friends they made.

“I never realized how influence being here was for me,” Bassow-Scheve said. “The people here made the biggest difference to me, and 40 years later, I still felt like I never left.”

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