Butterfield Elementary School is now eight times older than the average age of its kindergartners. Founded in 1978, Butterfield Elementary celebrated its 40-year anniversary with an assembly where patrons looked both to the past and the future.
For the celebratory event, Butterfield Elementary gathered multiple past educators who taught generations of local students. Alongside Marana Unified School District superintendent Doug Wilson and president Tom Carlson were four past Butterfield principals, and even past Butterfield students.
“One of the things I think about as a superintendent is the amount of kids who grow up to be educators,” Wilson said. “And there have been quite a few students right here who turned out to be teachers.”
One such former-student-turned-educator is Butterfield assistant principal Sydnee Friedman, who spoke to the students about her time at the elementary school, and how the years affected her. Friedman attended Butterfield since first grade, and reminisced about class pets, best friends and even trips to the principal’s office.
“As I sat down to reflect upon my time at Butterfield, I realized just how much of a difference Butterfield made in my life,” Friedman said to the students. “I was truly inspired to become an educator because of how the teachers here at Butterfield treated me… My hope for each of you is that Butterfield leaves a lasting impression in your heart, just like it continues to do in mine.”
Although many self-described “old” people spoke to the school children, current Butterfield Elementary principal Josh Bayne says the anniversary celebration was both for the adults and the students.
“For students, it’s important to hear from past educators, to hear what they have to say,” Bayne said. “But it’s also for the adults. It’s so good for the teachers to hear from previous students.”
Bayne, Butterfield principal of three years, was also able to learn lessons from previous Butterfield principals, some of whom served for over a decade.
While Butterfield Elementary has moved its education forward by incorporating student Chromebooks and collaborative, ergonomic furniture, Bayne also said the “overarching message” of education at the school never changes. In fact, a core quote painted above the school stage has remained unchanged for over 20 years: “Everyone Wins Because Everyone Improves.”
“I’m very much someone who appreciates the hard work of how we got here,” Bayne said. “And I think it was also very important that the assistant principal spoke. Yes, because she is a leader at the school, but also because she went here when she was six years old.”
After delivering her speech, Friedman said she could not believe she was able to hold it together onstage and not cry.
“But remember, Butterfield Bobcats,” Bayne said. “Even after 40 years, the best things about this school is all of you.”