Almaden Country School celebrates!
Posted May 29, 2012
On May 24, students, teachers, parents and alumni gathered in the front courtyard to commemorate the school's 30th anniversary, honor founder Nan Hunter, and acknowledge a donation from the late Kenneth and Gundy DuVall. The sunny afternoon was filled with songs, stories and the joyful energy Mrs. Hunter brought in 1982 that continues to permeate the campus.
“Almaden Country School is a dream come true,” said Mrs. Hunter. “Not only my dream, but the dream of hundreds of parents who knew their child had a gift and found a place where it could be discovered.”
When Mrs. Hunter founded Almaden Country School in 1982, her goal was to establish a new type of school, where teachers shape instruction according to the students' individual learning styles, and where children experience joy in learning.
The school received a generous bequest from the Duvall estate in 2007. “Mrs. DuVall did not have children. You are her children and she did this for you,” an emotional Mrs. Hunter told the crowd of students, current and former teachers, parents, and alumni. The school’s entry pavilion has been named the DuVall Courtyard and will provide a welcoming space for children to play and parents to gather.
The celebration also included remarks by Dr. Ole Jorgenson, head of school; Richard Ravel, chairman of the board of trustees; Mrs. Kathleen Peterson, Nan's daughter who is a parent of the school now but also served as a school director; and Mrs. Jean Delwiche, who was the principal for 25 years and now serves on the school's board of trustees. The audience also heard comments sent in a letter from Mr. Steve Hayden, who was head of school for 12 years and who now lives in China.
Among the guests were alumni students who came back to celebrate their alma mater. Steve and Ashley Ahlgren joined their mother Mrs. Ahlgren, one of the school's third grade teachers, for the celebration.
Steve, 19 and a college student, started ACS when he was 5-years-old and went on to Archbishop Mitty High School, “I'm definitely using the skills I learned at ACS," said Steve. “The teachers at ACS are incomparable; they really care about the students and make such a difference.”
His sister, Ashley, 17, also attends Archbishop Mitty, and like her older brother looks back on ACS with fond memories.
“I liked the tight-knit community and appreciate what a unique place ACS is,” remembered Ashley. “I had such a happy experience here.”
Nan Hunter Tribute
Written by ACS teachers Mrs. Julia Hatch and Mrs. Sherry Curtis
This is the song 400+ students sang to Mrs. Hunter.
Thirty years ago there was a woman with a dream
Of a school with lots love and it was quite a scheme
She knocked on doors, she called her friends
"We're starting a new school. Where happiness is number one,
And that will be the rule."
First she hired teachers and got parents on her team
Nan and Richard and the kids worked hard to build the dream
The family painted day and night
And scrubbed the walls and floors
In 1982 the children marched into the doors.
Now the time has come for us to sing and celebrate
30 years of happiness 'cuz ACS is great!
Every child is gifted, we know this to be true
You've touched our lives, Nan Hunter
It's all because of you.