The 50th anniversary of Cherrington Elementary School, 522 Cherrington Road, will be celebrated from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14.

Principal Andrew Heck said the public is invited to an event that includes refreshments, a silent auction, school memorabilia and students singing the elementary's rediscovered fight song.

Heck said Cherrington's music instructor Julie Porretta is teaching the tune to students for the first time in years.

The chorus of the song goes, "Give a cheer, cheer, cheer for Cherrington! Number one of all the rest! Give a cheer, cheer, cheer for Cherrington! It's the school we love the best!"

Heck, who is beginning his 11th year as Cherrington's principal, said the community the school has in the heart of Westerville makes it stand out from others.

"A diverse group of parents and families makes us unique and special," he said. "There are amazing families and staff."

The school has 18 teachers and a total of 40 to 50 staff, who served 450 students in grades K-5.

Beth Hammond, a reading intervention staff member, said she taught physical education at Cherrington for her first eight years at the school, then returned to teach reading the last five years.

Hammond has taught in Westerville since 1999.

"Cherrington is a special place because of the kind, caring community (parents/teachers/-students/administration) who have been a part of the Cherrington pride for 50 years," she said. "We have lived two blocks away from Cherrington for 19-20 years and the neighbors care about one another, show kindness and have greatly supported Cherrington over the years."

Hammond said many of her neighbors' children and grandchildren have attended Cherrington and when they come by the school it always feels like home to them.

"Cherrington has captured that small community, neighborhood elementary school feeling in a larger district and that is very special," she said. "Cherrington was home for our three children for approximately 10 years before the last child left for middle school and they love coming back to help or visit."

According to a history of Cherrington written by the late Harold Hancock, an Otterbein College history professor, Ernest Cherrington was a prominent leader in the Anti-Saloon League located in Westerville.

Cherrington Road was named in his honor, and when the school was located on this thoroughfare, it received the name of Cherrington.

The school was financed by a 1966 bond issue. The original building contained 14 rooms, but in 1969, six classrooms and a multipurpose room were added.

Hancock wrote that a scrapbook in the school library contains interesting clippings about student activities in the first years of the school such as the celebration of "First Thanksgiving," rocket building and enjoyment of colonial days.

On the 10th anniversary of the school, Hancock wrote, students released balloons with messages and one reached Virginia Beach, Virginia, 600 miles away.

The first principal of the school was Arthur W. Wright.

Heck said a mural will be unveiled during the celebration.

"We've had a clay mural that has been going on for a few years," he said. "It has been worked on a few years. It's the story of Mr. Cherrington and why Westerville was put on the map."

Heck said the mural is located inside the main doors of the school.

He said different classes are also putting together a time capsule that will include items related to favorite television shows, books, typical snacks and current events.

"Our PTA is conducting a silent auction with some school memorabilia," Heck said. "Funds will go back into the PTA."

Refreshments and music will be featured as well.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla