Hundreds of parents, teachers, students current and past, and a few siblings filled the grounds and interior of Floyd Dryden Middle School on Wednesday evening as part of its golden anniversary.
“This is an amazing turnout,” said Ed Becker, as he looked around at a line of about 40 other people waiting for hot dogs. “It might even be 10 times as many people as last year.”
Becker was with his daughter, Rosemarie, 10, who is in sixth grade this year, but will attend Floyd Dryden next year. His son, J.R., a seventh grader, was in an even longer line for cotton candy perhaps 50 feet away.
Kristy Germain, principal of the school, was just inside the door in the main hallway, talking to parents as kids hurried by for the bouncy house. While she wouldn’t commit to the ten-times-last-year figure, she was “definitely excited about the turnout.” Garmain reported later that 300 servings of cotton candy were handed out before they shut down the machine, another way to gauge turnout.
The 50th anniversary celebration mixed the traditional annual open house, where parents are welcomed to school to meet teachers and administrators, with boisterous fun and food, as well as an instrument petting zoo in the orchestra room.
Teachers were in their classrooms for the first half hour of the event meeting parents, which is normally what happens, said Heather Ridgway, a social studies teacher in her second year at the school. Then it seemed everyone started showing up at once. The celebration was a big draw, she said, but a lot of the credit for the turnout was the school itself. “It’s a great team of faculty.”
The downtown middle school has about 400 students and 25 teachers, according to the state government educational summary online. It reports 68% of Floyd Dryden teachers have been on staff for five years or more, and that the school has a nearly 90% attendance average.
Germain said they started putting the word out weeks in advance that this year’s open house would mark the important milestone with a lot of extras.
She also made a point of addressing the memory of Floyd Dryden, who was an administrator at the Fifth Street School in Juneau for 21 years, serving from 1935 to 1955. He and wife Nannie Dryden retired to Lewiston, Idaho, but returned for the dedication ceremony of the school in 1973. That detail, and many others, were part of a collection of material about the school pulled together by Dan Monteith at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.
But Germain had another tidbit: Nannie Dryden left an endowment for the school when she passed, earmarked for library and media. “It’s not a lot but it does make a difference.”
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