“After the pandemic, one of our priorities is to get books in the hands of our children again,” said Runaldue. “When you’re in kindergarten, a book can be a few pages with pictures. But we also had students reading chapter books. And almost 100% of them completed the challenge.”
The students celebrated with bubble parties at recess, cupcakes at lunch and dance breaks with ‘70s music throughout the day. They also got history lessons tied to the decade.
“We decided to embrace some of the things that marked the ‘70s, like talking about gas prices and having students dress up in tie-dyed clothes,” said Runaldue.
But the most important takeaway from the day, she added, was highlighting the close connection Peachtree Elementary has with the community.
“This is my community,” said Runaldue, a Norcross High graduate who began teaching at Peachtree as a sub in 2000 before becoming a fourth-grade teacher and eventually principal. “Once you walk through the doors, you don’t want to leave – and I’m not the only one who feels that way. Many community members work here. Our retirees donated a bench out front. It’s exciting to know that the commitment everyone has to children and excellence is still here.”
As the buses and cars pulled out at the end of the day, the loud speakers blasted the Jackson Five’s “ABC.”
“It was a day of learning,” said Runaldue, “and a lot of fun for our 50th birthday.”
SEND US YOUR STORIES. Each week we look at programs, projects and successful endeavors at area schools, from pre-K to grad school. To suggest a story, contact H.M. Cauley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-744-3042.