Benfield Elementary School marks its 30th anniversary Teachers, students enjoy celebration

September 10, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

Thirty years ago, Benfield Elementary School teacher Evelyn Foutty told a sixth-grade boy to get off the newly planted grass in the front of the new school.

He wouldn't move.

So Mrs. Foutty moved him, flipping him head over heels. In the process, she created a Benfield tradition -- the Foutty Flip.

"Now the kids thought I had taken Judo," Mrs. Foutty said, "but I learned the flip as a teen-ager dancing the jitterbug."

Still jitterbugging and flipping, Mrs. Foutty was joined by students, alumni, teachers and cafeteria workers at Benfield to celebrate the school's 30th anniversary.

Current students sat in the gymnasium to hear the stories and watch a ribbon cutting ceremony that kicked off the celebration.

Physical education teacher Barbara Hitchings, who has been at the school the entire 30 years, cut the ribbon to the gymnasium and kicked off the yearlong celebration.

Politicians and school officials also came to celebrate.

"I can't think of a better way to start the year off than with a birthday party," said Councilwoman Diane Evans, R-Severna Park.

Mrs. Evans said she hoped to make a wish come true for the students and their parents by ensuring a long-wanted traffic light is installed at Benfield Boulevard and Lynwood Drive.

U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen, D-4th, also came out to celebrate with the students, and made an offer to come back for a game of basketball. "I just turned 40 the other day," he said. "I'm 10 years older than the school, but the school looks a lot better than I do."

Benfield will hold a series of events to honor its anniversary, Principal Larry Campbell said. Fifth-grade students will place a time capsule in the school's basement and reopen it during their senior year.

Students also will start a literary magazine and participate in a used book drive and reading olympics. A Benfield school family cookbook and videotape are being made.

During the 21 years Mrs. Foutty taught at Benfield, and the nine years she substituted, the now-retired teacher has seen many changes. The school looks a bit different than it did in 1962, Mrs. Foutty said. The gymnasium the students sat in yesterday was not completed when the school opened 30 years ago. There was no kitchen. The classrooms had no desks.

"We had three long folding cafeteria tables as desks, and I had one book, a spelling book, for all my students," Mrs. Foutty said. "Our only playground the first year we were open was the circle area out front, but we couldn't play on the grass."

Mrs. Foutty said she also had more children in her classes in 1962, often as many as 40. The average class size at Benfield today is 25.

Carol Kin, who graduated in 1976, said little has changed since. Her children Lindsay, 8, and Alex, 5, attend the school today.

"When we came to look at the school, the first thing I remembered was the smell," Mrs. Kin said. "That smell. It was a really great smell. It just brought back the best memories."

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