An early photo of Enatai Elementary School, established in 1953, shows the original building. Photo courtesy of Enatai PTSA Archives

An early photo of Enatai Elementary School, established in 1953, shows the original building. Photo courtesy of Enatai PTSA Archives

Enatai Elementary to celebrate turning 65 at Bellevue event

The Feb. 6 event will be a journey back when Enatai opened its doors in 1953.

  • Tuesday, January 9, 2018 9:34am
  • News

History will come alive when Enatai Elementary School commemorates 65 years of educating generations of Bellevue’s youth with a community event from 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the school.

The anniversary event, Celebrating Enatai at 65, will be an evening of nostalgia, and an enriching journey back to yesteryear when Enatai first opened its doors in 1953. The evening will feature an illuminating slide presentation on Enatai’s history, tours of the new campus and an exhibition of memorabilia from the early days.

“People who have lived in Enatai for years don’t actually realize the prominence our school holds in Bellevue history,” said Enatai resident and school parent Sharon Pang, who is organizing the festivities, and has studied the area’s history.

“Most neighbors are surprised to hear that in 1883, long before Enatai was built, the very first public school in all of Bellevue was located right here on the same property at 108th Ave. SE and SE 25th St.,” she explained in a press release. “It was just a tiny log cabin, and wasn’t named, ‘Enatai,’ back then, but still it was the cradle of public education in this city.”

Subsequently, when the Enatai neighborhood was deep into development by 1953, and Baby Boomers had all reached school age, the Bellevue School District opened Enatai Elementary in response to the population explosion. It was one of 25 elementary schools the district ultimately built between 1952 to 1972.

“It’s clear the early settlers of Enatai prized education,” said Amy MacDonald, school principal, “and it is a proud tradition that endures with today’s families.”

The school’s Parent Teacher Student Association is the sponsor of Celebrating Enatai at 65, and invites current and former students, staff, parents, neighbors and friends to attend the anniversary event. Pang said one of the honored guests at the event will be former principal Ralph Allen, who headed the school in the 1980s. The event’s trip down memory lane will feature rarely or never-before-seen photos and documents from PTSA archives of yearbooks and scrapbooks. The Eastside Heritage Center, Bellevue’s preeminent historical society, will also lend 1950s materials from its extensive archives to show what everyday life may have looked like when Enatai launched.

For further information about Celebrating Enatai at 65, visit the event Facebook page.

Enatai Elementary School is located at 10700 SE 25th St. in Bellevue.

Neighborhood families held work parties in 1953 to landscape the grounds of Enatai Elementary School themselves. Photo courtesy of Enatai PTSA Archives and Clare Love

Neighborhood families held work parties in 1953 to landscape the grounds of Enatai Elementary School themselves. Photo courtesy of Enatai PTSA Archives and Clare Love

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