Johnston Turns Nifty-Fifty

Johnston Turns Nifty-Fifty


Students, staff, and some visitors took time out to celebrate “50 Years of Excellence” on January 19th as Johnston Elementary turned 50 years old.  Retired staff members were in attendance including former principals Joe Bandura and Harry Ranney, who was principal at Johnston when the school first opened it’s doors back in 1955.

            “So much has changed since the school first opened,” Mr. Ranney said to the students, “When this place first opened, most of the houses weren’t even here.  In fact, there was a dump across the street!  One thing hasn’t changed however, and that’s the fact that the kids at Johnston are still some of the greatest around.”

            The theme of the assembly was geared towards the fact that some things have changed, while some things have stayed the same.  For example, even though the big teen idols of the day have changed (Usher, Jessica Simpson, and Brittany Spears, 2005 – Pat Boone, Sandra Dee, and Annette Funicello, 1955), it must be pointed out that Annette and Brittany both got their start in showbiz as “Mouseketeers” in the Mickey Mouse Club.

            Back in 1955 the general curriculum included Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Penmanship, Citizenship, Fire Drills, Duck and Cover Drills, and Fingernail Inspections.  And while there are many similarities with what is taught in the classroom today, it must be noted that there is a greater focus on academic subjects with specific standards that need to be met in all of the subject areas.  If you go back even one generation, you don’t find the emphasis on standards that you find today in public education.  For example, there are algebra and geometry standards that Kindergarten students are expected to master by the time they reach 1st grade.

            Other examples of how the times have changed include the fact that a hamburger cost 18¢, and soda cost 10¢ a bottle (cans were a bit unreliable at the time and had only been in use for about 2 years).

            50 years old or not, the students and staff at Johnston looked impressive in their “golden anniversary” shirts emblazoned with the motto “STILL GOING STRONG” on the back – thanks to the PTO and special staff members (Mrs. Callaway, Mrs. Rausei, Mrs. Barrett, Miss Guzman, Mrs. Guinn, Mr. Gergely, and Mrs. Fiegle) for their efforts in helping with the program.