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Land O'Pines Celebrates 50 Years of Memories

School's history relived during assembly, celebrated with a fair

The gymnasium at School was filled with memories on Friday as 50 years of service to the township were remembered. 

With former Principal Richard Thompson serving as master of ceremonies the assembly held honored the wide ranging history the school has shared in the township. Thompson recalled several events including a fire in 1973 that gutted part of the building. 

Thompson introduced some of the visiting dignitaries including Mayor Robert Walsh, State Senator Robert Singer and State Assemblyman Dave Rible. The representatives from Trenton brought proclamations from their respective houses of government. A letter was also read on behalf of Governor Chris Christie who congratulated the school on the milestone. 

Back in his old school Thompson said he was glad to be a part of the ceremony. "How could I be on the pirate ship without my pirate hat," he said partway through the assembly and donned his tri-corner hat. 

In its 50 years the school has not only been home to students in kindergarten through eight grade but was also where the administration once worked from. Thompson said he could remember when the administration took up one third of the building before moving into the old state police barracks. "We had all these kids crammed into the other two thirds of the building," he said. 

The fire of 1973 was also a memorable event for Thompson who said it happened on a Sunday, school was closed on Monday and by Tuesday the staff and students had relocated to . "We carried on and only lost one day due to the fire," he said. 

By September the school was reopened and by January Thompson said everything was back to the way it was before the fire. Even now there is a spot in the hallway as a reminder of the blaze that left its mark on the building.

Friday's assembly also featured the opening of a time capsule that had originally been opened at the 25th anniversary in 1986 and was reopened and restocked at the 50th anniversary. Having been at the school 25 years ago, Thompson said he has every intention of being back for the 75th anniversary as well. 

The festivities concluded with a carnival for the community as a whole to enjoy bringing to an end a full day of activities. 

Linida and Donald Irvin June 05, 2012 at 02:58 PM
LOP was our "second family" school, with excellent teachers and of course, Mr. T. knowing every child by name. I recall the excitement of the plays on the stage, the Halloween parades, and the small class sizes. From their 8th grade graduation to Howell High School, and then on to Fairfield and Cornell Universities, we will always be grateful to LOP. Carry on-------Miss you All,-----The Irvin Family Christopher, Kimberly, Daniel - Linda and Don Irvin

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