They were the first 4th grade graduating class at Hillside Elementary School in Farmington Hills.
Farmington Public Schools in 2010 changed its grade level configuration to K-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-12. Hillside 4th grade teachers Mrs. Amos, Mrs. Sparling, Mrs. Connell, and Mrs. Banton created a number of activities to make their students’ final year at Hillside extra special.
“We started with a recognition breakfast,” recalled Debra Amos, who still teaches at Hillside, “and each class made time capsules.”
One student from each room took custody of the cardboard capsules. On June 8, the graduating seniors came together at Shiawassee Park in Farmington to open those boxes and share memories of their time as Huskies.
Hanna Velzy, a Farmington High 2018 grad, said she came to the reunion to see her classmates and find out what was in the time capsule. Like most who attended, she couldn’t remember what she put into the box.
“It was a really fun year,” she said of her fourth grade memories. “They did a lot of special things for us.”
Students opened the boxes with their teachers and discovered booklets in which they had written about their favorite Hillside memories and predicted their futures. There were also class pictures and individual student photos.
Amos pointed out that elementary is the school level in which students spent the most time and so has a special spot in their lives. She said the school has always had a strong Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and strong parent community support is what makes students so successful.
In one reunion activity, most students indicated by a show of hands that they had taken advanced placement courses, were headed to college or technical school, and took part in a number of clubs and activities throughout their school careers.
Teacher Anne Sparling, now retired, drove in from Chicago for the time capsule opening. She said the event gave teachers a chance to touch base with their students, now seniors heading out into the world.
“It’s fun to get back,” she said. “I miss the kids.”
Amos said she had many of the students in first grade and even taught some of their siblings.
“It makes me really proud to see them work so hard on their education,” she said. “They’re heading off on a path where they can fulfill their dreams.”