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West Jordan Journal

Groovy celebration held for Terra Linda Elementary School’s 50th year

Jul 07, 2023 12:00PM ● By Jet Burnham

Sixth-grade teacher Julie Barnson catches up with Quinn Burnham, a former student, on the disco dance floor at Terra Linda Elementary School’s 50th Birthday Celebration. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Tricia (Perry) Troester, who was a kindergarten student at Terra Linda Elementary School in 1973, the year the school opened, said she got chills when she saw her name listed in the yellowed yearbook she dug out from among the pile of past years’ memorabilia at Terra Linda Elementary School’s 50th birthday celebration. She looked into the black and white faces of the school’s very first morning kindergarten class and remembered many of them.

Troester was one of the hundreds of past and current students and staff members who attended the open house May 25 to celebrate their time as a Terra Linda Tiger. Principal Yajaira Martinez said there was a good turn-out from students, their families and from the community. The celebration included a photo booth, food trucks, birthday cake, as well as a variety of 70’s themed games and activities, such as bingo, ring toss, hula hoops and disco dancing, all of which were popular in 1973 when the school opened.

Celebration Committee Chairperson Angel Nelson said many people spent time perusing the old albums and yearbooks.

“The most popular station, by far, was the old photo albums we had on display,” she said.

As she bounced between the various activities, Nelson said she discovered some great stories of past students, such as two women, who were in their 50s, whose lifelong friendship had begun when they attended Terra Linda Elementary School together as children.

Dorrelyn (Young) Smith, who has been a teacher at Terra Linda Elementary for 17 years, is known as the mom of Terra Linda, because she’s been there the longest. She has taught first, sixth, and fourth grade and has led the Terra Linda Tones choir for 13 years. She’s been at the school long enough now that she is now teaching the children of some of her former students.

Smith reminisced with past students and parents about the changes she has witnessed at the school over the years.

“I've seen great teachers come and go,” Smith said. “I've seen the times when we've had eight portables outside and teachers in the kiva. I've seen the old playground replaced with the new. I've seen us go from no computer lab, to having a computer lab, to not having a computer lab because kids have chromebooks in the classroom now. I have seen the band grow big enough that we actually have a band teacher rather than a parent volunteer. I've seen the ceiling fall in the school, and I've seen the remodel.”

Smith believes the changes Terra Linda Elementary has experienced over the past 50 years are good. “As times have changed, we had to change, because kids change, and the way they learn changes,” Smith said.

Terra Linda Elementary was originally built with an open classroom design. The current design has a secure entry and individual classrooms which are equipped with audio enhancement and digital projection systems.

The Terra Linda Elementary School building is the third oldest elementary school in Jordan School District. Westland Elementary School celebrated their 50th anniversary last year. Westvale Elementary School is 56 years old. λ