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50th Anniversary Is Party Time at School

February 01, 2001|GRACE E. JANG

Telfair Avenue Elementary School celebrated its 50th anniversary Wednesday--complete with balloons, speeches, music and a nearly 6-foot-tall cardboard cake that swayed in the 30-mph wind.

Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar), a 1973 alumnus, gave the keynote speech--a motivational message that urged the predominantly Latino student population to honor, through academic success, their immigrant parents' sacrifices.

Much has changed at Telfair over the decades, alumni said. It used to have more space, fewer bungalows and a different student demographic.

Although times have changed, other things have stayed the same that shouldn't have, some said.

"I'm 13 years older than Tony," said Cardenas' brother Richard, 50. "When he was a student here, he would get books with my name in [them]--which tells you that those books were more than 10 years old."

More than 25 years later, fifth-grade teacher Steven Collis is dealing with the same problem: Some of his students' textbooks are so dated that their scientific facts don't reflect current knowledge, he said.

When several students were asked how they would improve the school, many shouted, "More computers! We don't have enough."

"I want the yard fixed," second-grader Crista Salas said, pointing to wide cracks and potholes covering the concrete playground. "When we're playing, we trip and get scratched a lot."

Fourth-grader Jaime Serna, however, said he wouldn't change a thing. He has attended Telfair since he was 4 and has made many friends, he said.

"This school's da bomb," the 10-year-old said, slinging his arms around his buddies. "I love it, man."

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