American Presidents





Richard Nixon
The Big 25th Anniversary Celebration

Teaching Ideas submitted by Donna Schlampp, a retired media specialist who taught at Richard M. Nixon Elementary School in Yuma, Arizona.



The 25th anniversary celebration for Nixon Elementary School was truly wonderful. The special day was Monday, April 3, 1995 and activities were held throughout a two week period.

At the 10:00 AM assembly, Edward Nixon, the youngest brother of President Richard Nixon, spoke to an enthusiastic student body. Our school's Bobcat Singers shared their vocal accomplishments as they sang "America the Beautiful", "Dona Nobis Pacem", and the "Bobcat Song". A student spoke about the flag that had flown over the capitol and two other students presented a flag to the school.

Mr. Nixon shared three stories about nine-year-olds. The first story described President Nixon as a nine-year-old who would read and read and read. The second story told of Ed Nixon as a nine-year-old who drove his brother's new car. The last told of Ed's daughter as a nine-year-old who ordered a Coke at the White House during the middle of the night.

The children asked several more questions. After the question period, a student presented Mr. Nixon with an Anniversary bobcat shirt.

Later Mr. Nixon and his wife visited the classrooms where children asked more questions. They also attended a fourth grade enrichment unit where they learned about Richard M. Nixon Elementary School, the Hiawatha area before 1970, changes to Richard M. Nixon Elementary School during the years, and worldwide events from 1970-1995.

During the afternoon, fifth grade students led tours of the school and playground. In the evening, Mr. Nixon came back for a short time to share his feelings about the celebration.

Mrs. Nelson and Mr. Young, who both taught for 25 years at Richard M. Nixon Elementary School, shared memories of those years and were honored with calligraphy pictures created by local artist, Jean Close, whose children attended the school. Former students were in attendance and shared their memories, too.

Third graders were then called on to talk about the time capsule the third grade class was completing. This capsule will be opened in 2020.

Next, the students acted out a skit entitled "Nixon throughout the Years," which told of some outstanding events that have taken place during the past 25 years at Richard M. Nixon Elementary School such as the Sky is Falling In, Tailypo - the new Mac Lab, buses with animal names, etc.

In addition to these activities, the first and second graders made illustrations depicting relatives and friends who attended Richard M. Nixon Elementary School.
Other projects include the completion of an enrichment unit for the entire school and publishing an anniversary newsletter.

Each class planned its own celebration with special cakes. We plan to continue to stress the educational dimension of this special occasion by writing reflections about the anniversary, letters to Mr. Nixon (who has promised to reply) and thank you letters to the many, many people who contributed to the success of our anniversary celebration.


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