Lake Forest school marks 50th
Cherokee Elementary School Principal Michelle Shinn, left, and art teacher Lisa Vlamis stand on either side of a mosaic created by last spring's fourth-grade class to commemorate the school's 50th anniversary. | Ed Collins~Contributor
What: 50th anniversary open house
When: 4:30-6 p.m. Oct. 12
Where: Cherokee Elementary School, 475 E. Cherokee Road, Lake Forest
More information: (847) 234-3805
Updated: September 20, 2012 9:00AM
LAKE FOREST — To many Lake Forest parents and their children, it hardly seems possible that 50 years has rolled by since Cherokee Elementary School opened its doors to welcome young children attending kindergarten through fourth grade.
In fact, two teachers now on the faculty are graduates of the school, said Michelle Shinn, Cherokee School principal. The Cherokee alums are Katie Morehead, a first-grade teacher, and Ann Dunn, the school’s special education director.
”We plan a lot of community and school events this fall to proudly celebrate our 50th anniversary. We are encouraging former students and parents to return and join us by remininising and celebrating our many achievements with former students and teachers,” Shinn said.
Shinn is principal of both Cherokee and Sheridan schools. She has provided administrative services at Cherokee for the past eight years. District 67 is comprised of four schools: Cherokee, Everett, and Sheridan elementary schools, each serving kindergarteners through fourth-graders, and Deerpath Middle School, educating students in grades five through eight.
Cherokee School first was envisioned in 1955 when voters approved a $1.5 million education bond to build three elementary schools. The first school built was Sheridan, then Everett, and finally Cherokee.
The school was designed by Architect Ralph Milman in 1960 and was built on an attractive 8-acre wooded site at 475 E. Cherokee Road. It opened its doors and was dedicated Oct. 21, 1962.
The original building had 14 classrooms, a library, an all-purpose room, kitchen, office area, and three auxiliary rooms.
A significant expansion in 2000 doubled that space, Shinn said. Enrollment for the school’s five grade levels today totals 331 students.
In preparing for the 50th re-dedication of Cherokee this fall, last year’s fourth-grade graduating class created a tile mosaic.
Art teacher Lisa Vlamis said each of the 85 fourth-graders created an individual tile depicting an object or scene of their choosing. These were glazed and mounted on a wall in the entry foyer for all to see.
A former student, Duke Durot, now a college student studying graphic arts, spent much of his time earlier this year working with the children on the project.
“The result is a stunning example of youthful creativity,” Vlamis said.
Shinn said teachers continue to follow the educational path laid down by Donald Lehigh, the school’s first principal 50 years ago. In his dedication address he said: “In educating our youth so that they will be able to provide the guidance and leadership for our country in the years to come, we have to provide for the development of the child’s personality. Probably one of the most important objectives of our educational program should be the developing of mature personalities.”
In today’s complex world, Lehigh’s sentiments are as relevant as they were 50 years ago, Shinn said.~.