Duniway Elementary School in Eastmoreland turns 90 years old, prompting a celebration

DAVID F. ASHTON - Inaugural Duniway Elementary students of 90 years ago, Lucille (Harris) Pierce and Joan (Crystall) Cutting, spend a reflective moment with Principal Matt Goldstein. Soaring temperatures didn't hinder the turnout at Duniway Elementary School, August 28, when staff and families met on the grounds for a special event.

"We're calling it 'Duniway's 90th Birthday and Back-to-School Picnic' celebration," grinned Duniway PTA Board Member, and the event's organizer, Jeannine Walker. "We wanted to have a couple of different things happen at this before-school gathering.

"The first part was holding a back-to-school event at which kids, their parents, and teachers could mingle, and get to know one another before school begins," Walker told THE BEE. "The other was to celebrate Duniway's 90th birthday, and we've invited back past students and staff."

With the school's history thus presented, its birthday grew more inclusive; "It's really a celebration of our entire Eastmoreland community, a way to bring everyone together," Walker said.

Historian Joanne Carlson was in the "History Kiosk" telling about the scrap books, articles, and photos, on display – including a picture of the school's namesake, suffragette Abigail Scott Duniway.

"I started working with the PTA and neighborhood association to create a 50 year history for Duniway School back in 1977," Carlson recalled. "Since then, I've added to it over the years, with the help of people who brought me interesting things."

Attending were two of the students who started their education on the very day the school first opened – Lucille (Harris) Pierce, and Joan (Crystall) Cutting,

"We hadn't had kindergarten, so it was a big deal going straight to first grade," said Pierce. "On the first day of school, I remember I was standing out in front of the building, seeing the flagpole, and watching them raise the flag."

As for Cutting, "What impressed me the most was that we were taken to see the Music Room, where they pointed out that it had an 'acoustical ceiling' that was said to be modern, and very expensive."

Returning to the present, and about to start his fifth year as the head of the school, Duniway Principal Matt Goldstein told us he expects a great school year. "I'm really looking forward to having almost our entire teaching staff returning; and, we've added a twenty-first classroom, as our school continues to get a little bit bigger – we now have over 500 kids."

After introducing the afternoon's speakers, Walker mused, "The best part of it for me is, honestly, seeing so many come together as a community. I think we're very lucky to live in Eastmoreland, and very lucky to have the school in our neighborhood."

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