BEND, OR -- Bend’s Bear Creek Elementary celebrates its 60th birthday this year, and the community is invited to a special celebration this Friday evening. "It’s for anybody that’s a current Bear Creek student or family member, and then, the alumni that we’ve had from the last 60 years of people going to Bear Creek," says interim Principal Marc Zollinger.
He tells KBND News the school has made a deep impact over the years, "And it seems like everybody’s got a story or they know something about it. So, it feels like because Bend is expanding so much, it’s been one of those things that’s been here for the last 60 years and it has kind of a storied past at this point."
R.E. Jewell was superintendent when Bear Creek opened in September of 1963. It had 35 more students than its capacity of 240. Today, 505 students are enrolled. Bear Creek launched the first dual immersion program in Bend-La Pine Schools; it's entered its 14th year. The first dual immersion kindergarten class just graduated high school in 2023.
Zollinger says, "Bear Creek, in its time here in the community, has been kind of a place for students and families to go and find that connection. And we want to celebrate the fact that Bear Creek does this special job of being a dual-immersion school, and we’re just bringing cultures and languages together." He says the sense of community is an even bigger focus this year, "Really, what we’re trying to do is just be a community within the school that includes the families and the parents, and then that really includes the community at large. So that’s one of the big focuses of the school this year, is that concept of community and that concept of belonging. And an event like this that celebrates the heritage of the school and of Bend, I think really kind of helps bring things together."
Friday’s celebration at the school starts at 5:30 p.m. and includes family activities, snacks and a one-mile fun run. Click HERE for more information.