“Education is a community business making this community celebration a special one,” Gary Rutherford, Ed.D., superintendent of Desert Sands Unified School District.
The comment above was part of Dr. Rutherford’s letter that opened the printed program of DSUSD's 50th anniversary celebration held at the Coachella Valley History Museum. A perfect valley evening with clear skies and fall temperatures found over 200 guests joining together to commemorate the opening of the Celebrating Our Past ~ Inspiring Our Future Exhibition at the museum. Prominently displayed in the old schoolhouse building, the exhibition features eight large panels detailing the history and future of the school district, four display cabinets of memorabilia, an interactive game of matching the schools to the presidents they were named for, student artwork, and colorful blackboards created by local chalk artist Mari Buck.
The gathering truly focused on what makes the school district so successful – the wonderful students and the committed adults who support them. Catering for the event was provided by the culinary arts students at La Quinta High School, centerpieces were created by the floral design students at Indio High School, music for the evening was thanks to the Palm Desert Charter Middle School Jazz Band, photography and videography was courtesy the new IMPACT media program at Indio High School, guest escort and security were provided by the cadets from Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert, and Shadow Hills high schools, and set up and tear down crews included students from Amistad High School with assistance from the cadets. The elected officials and community partners in attendance proudly applauded the students for making the event happen.
Sponsored and created by the Desert Sands Educational Foundation, the event is expected to bring thousands of dollars directly into the classrooms in the form of mini-grants for school programs. The exhibition will remain on display through June 2017 at the Coachella Valley History Museum, a partner with DSUSD in celebrating the 50 years of educational success. A myriad of sponsors contributed to the success of the event including the cities of Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, and Palm Desert. The full list of sponsors as well as a photo gallery can be found at www.desertsandsef.org.
Student artwork submitted for a 50 th anniversary competition will be on display at the museum throughout the year. It can also be seen on the foundation’s web site. Congratulations to winners of the competition: Jayden Lee of Palm Desert High School, Reagan Reynolds a student at John Glenn Middle School, Chanbin Park of Washington Charter Elementary School, Cali Boylan a student at Amelia Earhart Elementary School, and Damara Diaz a kindergartener at James Madison Elementary School. Each student will be presented with a $50 gift card for art supplies. An additional card will go to the school with the most entries.
President Bob Wright of the educational foundation said it best, “tonight’s event is meant to not only reminisce about the past 50 years but to also serve as a fundraising event so that we can look back 50 years from now at additional successes.”