“Everybody knows Teasley’s special,” said Leslie Mansfield, the principal. “It was my lifelong dream to be principal here,” she added.
The affection for the school resonated among the crowd Sunday, with former students and administrators embracing in the halls, and catching up with teachers and friends from the past.
Ann Johnson, and her husband, Jim Johnson, sent their two children to Teasley in the 1970s, she said.
The two signed up to volunteer at the birthday celebration because, “It’s the best old elementary school in the world,” said Johnson.
The school currently has 740 students, but back in 1963, there were only 175, said the Elizabeth McRae, the President of the Teasley PAWS foundation, which raises funds for the school’s science program.
McRae graduated from Teasley in 1979, and loved her school so much, she sent both of her children, second-grader Lily McRae and fourth-grader Sikes McRae, to Teasley.
The school has such a great reputation that when Shakena Burns was moving to the area from Augusta, she said she moved specifically to be in Teasley’s school district.
Her daughter, second-grader Kemiya Heath, said that she loves her school because of the principal, teachers, field trips and the science lab.
The celebration began with a welcome from Mansfield, and about 15 students joined Bob Ott, Cobb County District 2 Commissioner in singing “Happy Birthday” to the school.
A large white and purple sheet cake, donated by the Vinings Village Civic Club was cut, and refreshments were served, provided by the Vinings Club.
Students and administrators alike crowded to get a piece of the cake before it ran out.
Cobb County Board of Education member Scott Sweeney showed up to get a slice of cake, and support one of the schools in his zone, he said.
“It’s fun to come out to fun events like this,” he added.
Tiger, Teasley’s mascot, showed up to mingle with students and teachers, and many paused to get their picture taken with him.
“I like Teasley because it was my first school I’ve ever been to. It’s a really fun school. We have specials, and celebrations, and we build stuff,” said Darina Paliakou, a fifth grader at Teasley.
Paliakou and the hundreds of attendees flooded the school’s parking lot to listen to the first-grade choir, led by Christa Joy Chase. Dressed in red, white and blue, the group sang patriotic songs.
They were followed by the Teasley Treble Tones, made up of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, who sang international songs, and were led by Roxanne Mungin.
After the musical celebration, members of the Student Council led attendees through guided tours of the main building of the school, which is currently broken up into two campuses.
With funding from SPLOST 4, Teasley is expanding, and the kindergarten and first grade classes are in what used to be Brown Elementary School, said Mansfield. The second through fifth grades are in the main building still, which is where the celebration took place. The Kindergarten and first grade students should return to the renovated building in about two years, she said.
“I feel like I won the lottery,” said Sophronia Qualls, who has been a kindergarten teacher at Teasley for 25 years, and was surrounded by former students as she spoke. “If you get to work at Teasley, you are truly blessed,” she added.