The celebration that took place on October 27 was highlighted with duets, choral, and orchestral performances by students that thrilled the audience. Also featured were speeches by Aaruni Thakur (Fullerton School Board member), Larry Beaver (retired Parks Jr. High Principal), Irene Landsberg (one of the original teachers), and a special guest appearance from D. Russell Parks’ son and grandchildren.
Parks was built in 1972 in honor of Dr. D. Russell Parks, former Superintendent of the Fullerton Public Elementary School system. The school is located in Fullerton on the corner of Rosecrans Avenue and Parks Road, formerly an unconnected section of Brookhurst Avenue. The street was renamed in order to conform with a rule instituted by Dr. Parks himself, maintaining that schools be named after the streets on which they stand.
In her speech, Irene Landsberg said, “Standing here and knowing that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of our school, I can hardly believe that it has been 50 years. Life goes by quickly. My memories of those first few years, when the staff and students were creating all the foundations for what would become the traditions that may still be in place now, were happy and fulfilling times. One of the unique experiences here was how all the adults on campus were treated fairly, and everyone’s opinion had equal weight.”
Many teachers from other schools in the district came together to make the students’ experience a valuable time for learning and growth.
“It took a lot of team work and the staff was very interested in working together to make this an outstanding school. We received our first recognition as an awarding winning school for the 1986-87 school year,” Landsberg said, “The teachers’ lounge was so crowded at lunch that you had trouble finding a seat, and wherever you sat, you were welcome at the table. Over the years, that changed as people retired and new staff arrived. Petty disagreements also divided people. If I can make one recommendation to people teaching here now, I would say that the more time you spend knowing your colleagues, the more beneficial that is for you and the students you serve.”
“To the students, I would like to say that the time you spend here, or at any school, should be a valuable experience for you. It’s up to you to make that happen. The staff is here to help you get to where you want to be. Reach out and ask for help if you need it. Some of the friends you make here may still be in your lives in 50 years.”
“Life will take you along an interesting path with lots of detours, some rough and others wonderful. If you can look back in fifty years and know that you were true to yourself, you accomplished your goals, and made other peoples’ lives better, then you will have lived a worthwhile life. I wish you all a life filled with luck, good fortune and happiness,” Landsberg said.