Last week, Harelson Elementary School celebrated its 50th anniversary, with its first, second and eighth principals taking part in the festivities.

Current principal Andy Heinemann introduced Evelyn Carswell, who was the school’s principal for the first three years. George DeGregori was the second principal, Jim Fogltance its eighth. Also in attendance were school officials, staff and alumni.

All three former principals spoke to the children about their time at the school.

Carswell, 92, told students that there was no fence, electricity or air conditioning, “and no playground equipment.” At that, all the students let out a gasp.

In 1960, there was a large desert area where Cross Middle School is now. She took students there two times a week to teach them about the wildflowers and surrounding desert.

In 1963, the Amphitheater School Board asked Carswell to work with an architect to help design a school that would be better suited to elementary students. Together they designed Lulu Walker Elementary School, which opened that year.

After that, Carswell went to Washington, D.C., to be a curriculum consultant. She later worked with student teaches at the University of Arizona, and also helped found the Tucson Children’s Museum.

When the principals were finished, children watched a slide show of photographs from the past 50 years at Harelson. Everyone enjoyed cookies or cake.

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