A new look, but the song remains the same

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Oh Green Park School is number one

And we have lots and lots of fun

People here are really cool

None of us would be a fool

Patrol, cafeteria, work to be done

Assemblies with awards that we have won

Spelling bees, wrestling are but a few

All-City Basketball Championships, too

Oh Green Park School is number one

And we have lots and lots of fun

People here are really great

That’s why

(clap clap)

We should cel -e- brate!

Green Park!

Yes, I attended Green Park Elementary School during the ’80s.

Initially we were the Green Park Super Stars. But when Buddy Heimbigner retired, our new principal, Charlene Bailey, invited us to choose a new mascot.

My third grade suggestion was the Green Park Gorillas, but Green Park Panthers won out.

Oh how I loved Green Park! This was back when the “Small Building” built in 1952 was still there, before the amazingly well done 1995 remodel.

The kindergarteners were in portables. The gym/cafeteria/stage, office and first- through fourth-graders were in the Small Building, and the fifth- and sixth-graders got to be in the Big Building.

It was such an honor to move up to the Big Building! Being in an entirely different building made us feel older than the rest of the students. And the building itself was really remarkable — the enormous windows and ceilings, still impressively displayed today; the grand stair case; the creepy basement and boiler room; the forbidden top floor.

The forbidden top floor. How enticing is that for 12 year old kids? Of course we would sneak up there to look at the abandoned classrooms, still furnished but dark and dusty.

Today Green Park is a cohesive building — one large structure, with no small little portables and prohibited classrooms. Green Park is still beautiful and spacious though now it is much more comfortable and modern, and I am so grateful for the elegant way they remodeled it.

One thing that remains the same, however, is the Green Park Carnival. Even though my own children do not attend Green Park, I have always brought them to the carnival.

It is more than just nostalgia. Held in outdoors in May, it is one of our families’ long time favorite events. When I was a little girl we had ticket sale contests and one of my proudest moments in life was being a top ticket salesperson.

Of course it never occurred to me until adulthood that my enormous family buying all the tickets gave me an unfair advantage. I was just happy to be the best at something!

In the words of our long ago Green Park Spirit song, taught to us by our wonderful music teacher Phyllis Bonds:

Green Park School is really great, that’s why ... we should celebrate!

Sara Van Donge is a Walla Walla native and middle school dual language teacher. She can be reached at saravandonge@gmail.com.

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