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Longfellow School to celebrate100th year with event on Dec. 6

Posted on 28 October 2018 by calvin

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Longfellow High School (formerly Longfellow Elementary School) is inviting past and present alumni, staff, neighbors, and friends to help celebrate the school’s 100th Anniversary on Thur., Dec. 6 from 3:30-7pm. Located at 3017 E. 31st St., the venerable brick building has seen a lot of change since it was built in 1918.

The school currently serves pregnant and parenting students between the ages of 12-21, and their children. Part of the Minneapolis Public School (MPS) system, Longfellow High School is an Alternative Learning Center with on-site child care and required parent education classes for all students.

Science teacher and event organizer Lauren Tolbert said, “I’m very proud of our school, especially because of everything our students have to deal with. Being teen moms, they’re often balancing being heads of households, raising children, and finishing their educations so they can support their families better. When the ALC opened in 2013, we had to make significant changes to the building so that it could function as both a high school for 85 students and a family center for nearly as many infants and small children. The anniversary celebration is a chance for people in the community to see how it all works.”

Photo right: Science teacher Lauren Tolbert (left) and principal Dr. Padmini Udupa (right) are helping to organize the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the building that houses Longfellow High School. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

When the celebration begins Dec. 6, there will be play time for families from 3:30-4pm, including a water table, art activities, photo booth, and light refreshments. From 4-5pm, MPS superintendent Ed Graff will speak, along with elected officials, previous staff and students. Former Longfellow Elementary School music teacher Amy Furman will lead a group-sing of the old school song. From 5-6pm, tours of the re-configured building will be offered. Throughout the afternoon, guests can participate in the community art project to be titled “100 Hands.”

If anyone has school memorabilia in the form of photos, yearbooks, or written memories, or is willing to make food or beverage donations, contact Lauren Tolbert at lauren.tolbert@mpls.k12.mn.us.

Longfellow High School enjoys an unusually close relationship with the neighborhood it sits in. “The students who come here, on average, have attended as many as seven different schools,” Tolbert explained, “It’s rare that a student transfers out of Longfellow.

The relationships that students build here, with each other and with the staff, are essential for their success in school. A stipulation of being here is that each student must agree to attend daily prenatal, infant, toddler, or preschool child development classes (depending on their progression of pregnancy and parenting level). They’re not only graduating with a high school diploma; they’re learning how to be well-informed parents.”

Nearby Holy Trinity Lutheran Church has provided substantial, ongoing support and encouragement to students and their children.

Upwards of 30 church volunteers teach knitting classes, bring Quarterly Award ceremony treats, ”adopt” families at holiday time, and are present for every school function and celebration. Through their food distribution program Fare for All, Trinity donates vouchers for free, nutritious boxes of food to six students each month.

The East Lake Library is also closely connected with Longfellow High School through book donations and librarian visits. Students and their children are encouraged to visit the library as well. Principal Dr. Padmini Udupa said, “We work hard to get our students out in the community so that they can experience its many assets first hand.”

Udupa was quick to add, “It’s important that our students aren’t always on the receiving end of kindness; we also help them find ways to give back. Last year, several students worked with volunteers from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to make polar fleece blankets that were then donated to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.”

Udupa continued, “One of the things we need to develop this year is more service learning opportunities for our students during school hours. If there are businesses within walking distance that could use a small group of students (and an accompanying staff person) to do meaningful volunteer work, we encourage them to contact us.”

To RSVP for the 100th Anniversary Celebration, respond to https://goo.gl/forms/xGkTQLP1Dw62DXx12, or call the front desk at 612-668-4700.

Udupa concluded, “We’re looking forward to reminiscing together. The building is alive because of all of the memories that it holds.”

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