Appleton marks 100 years

Student transportation consisted of a train, a buggy, a horse or a student’s own two feet when Appleton School opened in 1911.

The first- through 12th-grade institution at 2358 H Road was the first consolidated school in Colorado. It graduated its first high school class in 1914 and its last in 1954, before becoming what is known today as Appleton Elementary School.

Current and former Appleton students, teachers and staff will celebrate the school’s 100th anniversary Friday and Saturday.

The school’s annual carnival will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the school.

On Saturday, alumni are invited to a lunch, which will precede a public program from 2 to 5 p.m. at the school.

The program will include music, cake and punch, tours of the school and a room with memorabilia, and speeches from Appleton Principal Corey Hafey and former Appleton principals Kathy Drogos, Andy Laase and Mark Schmalz.

Alumni and former teachers also will have an opportunity to share their memories of the school.

Hafey said the whole school is excited to begin the festivities.

“There’s an amazing sense of history looking back at what Appleton has meant to so many families and what it’s going to mean in the future,” he said.

Linda Cuevas, a third-generation former Appleton student who now serves as the school’s health assistant, said there are fourth- and fifth-generation students attending Appleton. Students who don’t know the school’s history will learn it next week when alumni speak to classes.

“We hope they get how important (the anniversary) is,” she said.

Drogos said the close-knit community and families at the school helped her 16 years at Appleton, from 1986 to 2002, feel more like fun than work.

“I just love Appleton. They have incredible parents, dedicated teachers, and the students really learn to be kind and loving to each other,” she said.

The school wants to continue the celebration Sept. 24 by inviting alumni and students to ride or march with an Appleton float in the Fruita Fall Festival parade.

People can also mark the occasion by purchasing a $15 100th anniversary cookbook with school history and recipes from former teachers, students and Appleton cooks. The book can be purchased at Bookcliff Gardens.

Appleton isn’t alone in celebrating its centennial. Grand Junction High School will celebrate its 100th anniversary as well this year.

No events have been scheduled yet for that anniversary.


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