By Stacey Kyle
Live Oak Elementary School, founded in 1872, recently celebrated a monumental occasion. During the school’s $1.1 million revitalization over the summer, the historic 145-year old bell was moved to the front entrance of the school. Funds for the project were the result of refinancing a facilities loan.
A re-dedication of the bell and celebration of the school’s history took place on September 20 in front of the entire student body, dozens of parents and local dignitaries.
Principal Greg Stein served as the Master of Ceremonies and welcomed long-time Live Oak teacher, Judy Kessler to address the crowd.
“In the past, this bell was used to bring us together, and we’re doing that today again. When it rings today, it will give us a sense of history and remind us that we’re all a part of the history of Live Oak school” said Kessler.
County Supervisor John Leopold, who represents Live Oak, expressed appreciation to long-time Live Oak resident Bill Simpkins and his family for their role in securing the historic bell for the school. “Bill and his family have lived in Live Oak for many years.
He led the effort to find this bell, helped raise the money to bring it back to the school, to make sure that we have it as part of Live Oak Elementary for the next 150 years,” said Leopold.
Music teacher, Doug Boyd, then led attendees in singing “This Land is Your Land” while accompanying the group on his guitar. Fifth graders Emily Serna Lara and Daniel Cruz were then introduced to use the ceremonial large scissors to cut the bright orange ribbon surrounding the bell and take turns ringing it. Principal Stein concluded the ceremony by asking the students if they’d like the bell used for special occasions, to which they all yelled YES!”