By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Duvall Elementary, a Dearborn Public School, celebrated its centennial May 6 with an open house welcoming alumni and the community, and with special displays celebrating each decade.
Antique cars were on display near the playground, where children played and food trucks fed appetites.
Inside, decorations and displays filled every inch of wall space, celebrating each decade since the school opened 100 years ago, highlighting student work.
Memory banners encouraged alumni to share their thoughts in marker, while voices filled the hallways with friends and neighbors reconnecting.
Duvall Principal Mary Timpf said the reunion was wonderful, and much positive energy was present.
“This is just a very special place, and today proves it,” she said. “I think everybody’s just so excited to have events again and such a big celebration.”
Timpf said people have allowed Duvall to thrive, as evidenced by the many alumni and retired and former staff in attendance.
She said U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-12th District) had stopped by, as had many of the school board members and Supt. Glenn Maleyko as well as many past principals.
“Many of our retired staff came and helped us prepare for today, so that was very special,” Timpf said. “They enjoyed being back in the classroom with kids, and we had a lot of fun with them being here, too.”
She said Duvall has fourth- and fifth-grade students who are fourth generation Duvall students within their family, and one visiting alumni, who spoke at the event, is a third-generation student.
Timpf said Duvall has numerous second-generation students.
The Ford Historic Homes District was begun in May 1919, with the first 94 homes built on Park and Nona, and 156 more houses built between 1920 and 1921 on Beech, Edison, Francis, Gregory and Military.
Duvall, originally called Southwestern, was built in September 1921, and until 1931 taught kindergarten through 12th grade.
Additional classrooms were added in 1947 through 1950, and in 1957 more classrooms, a library and a gym were added.
Timpf said that Duvall has 10 classrooms, and every classroom studied a decade, to give the students a feel for the passage of 100 years.
“If you walk through the school, you start at the 1920s, and if you walk all the way and end upstairs, you’ll end with the current day,” she said. “So, they’ve learned a lot about prices, and Duvall history and Dearborn history, and American and world history, too.”
Timpf said the lack of technology probably surprised her students the most.
“We have a display case inside with some old technology,” she said.
Timpf said many visitors who live in the neighborhood have come and shared stories about the school’s past.
“There was no lunchroom back then, no art room, no media center,” she said. “So, we have all of that now.”
Timpf said Duvall’s great relationships with its families keep it a vibrant, vital school.
“There are things that we still have, like our ice cream social, on June 3, that was started in the 1970s,” she said.
Timpf said COVID-19 shifted them to a Halloween Trunk-or-Treat instead of a Halloween dance this past year, but the school still had a Halloween celebration.
She said the school also has a veteran display, and the student make fruit baskets and cards for veterans, which began three decades ago, and will begin again as the pandemic allows them to do so.
“We think we are an excellent school, but we also want to get better,” Timpf said.
Her husband, Don Timpf, said the centennial celebration was a great event, and the community, especially the Parent Teacher Association, has allowed Duvall to thrive for 100 years.
“You’ve got the community, and all the former principals and teachers still coming together, a lot of kids know them, and it is really good to see that education is bringing people together,” he said.