Former faculty, students organize reunion in honor of closed school

Amie Ninh

More than 30 years ago, Main Street was home to Central School.

Closed in June 1979 due to declining enrollment in District 65, Central School, which served grades kindergarten through fifth, was one of Evanston’s oldest educational establishments.

Now, in honor of the 30th anniversary of its closing, the school’s former faculty members and students are coming together to organize a reunion scheduled for April 30 in its original location, now occupied by District 65’s Park School.

“The main reason for getting together is to share the good times and share the history,” said Richard Fattes, a former teacher at the school. “It was a great place to work and truly a community that worked together.”

Retired teacher Yvonne Davis said the event’s planning is in its infancy, but the committee is now attempting to contact staff by phone.

“You can’t even fathom the fact that it must be difficult to contact people you haven’t seen in 30 years,” she said.

The committee, comprised of five former faculty members and three former students, is still ironing out details of the reunion agenda. One idea is to place a historical marker in the current Park School building to commemorate Central School, Fattes said.

Despite the little historical information that has been gathered about the Central School, Fattes said the school was “unique and unusual” for its program that placed multiple age groups and grade levels in the same classroom. Fattes said the “great working report” between the staff was facilitated by the school’s small population of less than 300 students.

Central School was one of seven elementary schools that closed between 1976 and 1979 in District 65, which was struggling financially at the time.

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