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Longfellow School celebrates its 100th anniversary

Posted on 18 December 2018 by calvin

Article and photos by MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
On Dec. 6 former and present staff, students, and neighbors gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Longfellow High School at 3017 E. 31st St. When the building was constructed in 1918, World War I had just ended; the word teenager hadn’t been invented yet; zippers were a shining innovation; and, a loaf of bread cost seven cents.

To begin the anniversary celebration, visitors were invited to peruse memory books and photo albums that marked decades from the past. Classrooms were open for viewing, and tables in the hallway were staffed by several of the programs that currently make Longfellow a successful school: Teen Parent Services, High 5, Early Childhood Education, Holy Trinity Church, Project Success, AchieveMPLS, and Check & Connect.

Since 2008, Longfellow has been a community school for pregnant and parenting students and their children. For the first 83 years of is existence, it served as one of the neighborhood elementary schools. As Minneapolis Public Schools superintendent Ed Graff said, “A community is reflected in its schools.” That sentiment was reiterated through the stories of every speaker who followed.

Former student Aswar Rahman (now a small business owner, digital director, and recent mayoral candidate) arrived at Longfellow Elementary School when he was just six years old. “From the first moment I entered the school, I was welcomed here – as was my sister,” he said. “We were immigrants from Bangladesh, India. My mom was fleeing an abusive relationship, and this school was our first sanctuary.”

Rahman went on to explain that his mom had been a school principal in their home country, but her credentials weren’t recognized when they came to America. She had to start her education over again. Rahman said, “It makes me so happy to see Dr. Udapa as the principal of this school because she looks just like my mom.”

Dr. Udapa has been in her position for the past six years.

Longfellow High School wishes to thank the following local businesses for their support of the anniversary celebration: Jakeeno’s, McDonald’s, Saint’s Food Service, Walgreens, the Longfellow Market, Parkway Pizza, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, and Big Bell Ice Cream.

Photo left: Lauren Tolbert, staff member and event organizer, thumbed through one of the albums of memories and photographs.

 

 

 

 

Photo right: Minneapolis Public Schools superintendent Ed Graff asked for a show of hands from the audience in response to his question, “How many of you worked here at one time over the years?” About 1/3 of the audience raised a hand.

Photo left: Geneva Dorsey, dean of students, commented on the supportive and encouraging atmosphere of the school. On her t-shirt is the school mascot: a kangaroo with a baby in her pouch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo right: Former student Aswar Rahman looked out over the audience during his comments and said, “I wonder if by any chance my first-grade teacher is here? Her name was Miss Emy.” Emy Mariano, now a teacher at Sheridan Elementary School in North Minneapolis, was seated in the third row.

 

 

 

Photo left: Former music teacher Amy Furman sang the old Longfellow Elementary School song.

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