Take a walk through Oak Creek Elementary's history at Saturday's 20-year anniversary celebration
by: VERN UYETAKE Courtney Clements, who helped spearhead the event, reviews the photos of former students.

The halls are humming with excitement at Oak Creek Elementary this week as parents, staff, teachers and students put the final touches on preparations for their open house this Saturday.

What's all the buzz? The OCE community is celebrating its 20-year anniversary and parent volunteers Elizabeth Cook and Courtney Clements couldn't let the milestone pass without a celebration. Since spring they have been gathering news clippings and photos from the Lake Oswego Review, school yearbooks and other resources to create mementos for the event and planning activities for the open house.

Parent volunteers have attempted to contact all former Oak Creek students and encouraged them to send a school photo of themselves to post on a special wall in the school. And of course, they have invited them to attend the celebration, which runs from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the school this Saturday.

Principal Karen Lachman and staff have invited former teachers and staff to attend the event.

Five employees from the original staff in 1991 still work at the school. They include teachers Marilyn Schulz, Susan Wolf, Jane Lierman, librarian Cay Lichtenwalter and head engineer Jim Easton. Easton has been dubbed the OCE archivist; he has unearthed many boxes of historical items, including teacher name plaques and a quilt made by a class that first year.

One of the original teachers, CarolynMcBee, who has since retired, came back to help with the preparations and will be in attendance on Saturday. She recalled the story of how the coyote mascot was chosen.

'There were three or four options for mascots, including coyotes,' she said. 'Evidently a coyote family was discovered here when the school was being built. They were removed and reestablished in a safe place … but the students identified with the coyotes.' She said they learned a great deal about coyotes and it seemed natural that the school mascot be a coyote.

Other fun facts are sure to be shared as former students and families gather on Saturday. Attendees can also view examples of Art Literacy projects from past years.

Adding to the excitement will be the opening of a time capsule in which items were placed the first several years the school was open.

'It's been stored safely away in Jim Easton's office,' said Lachman. 'It will be opened at the celebration and then our student leaders will coordinate adding items to it. Each class will add one item and we'll be doing this all spring. And then we'll seal it. We plan to reopen the capsule at the 50 year anniversary during the 2041-2012 school year.'

The open house event begins at 1:30 p.m. with tours of the library, science lab and student store. School musicians will perform mini-concerts in the school lobby from 1:30 through 2:30 p.m. and then music teacher Ben Haynor - known as a real rock star in the OCE community - will take over.

'We encourage everyone to come,' said Lachman. 'It's really going to be exciting.'

Former students who have not yet sent a picture to post on the wall are encouraged to bring one to school on Saturday.

For more information you can call the school at 503-534-2323 through Friday.

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