Birds

‘Sensational at 70’: Bird Rock Elementary School Celebrates Anniversary with Open House

'Sensational at 70': Bird Rock Elementary School Celebrates Anniversary with Open House

“We are a community that can celebrate together tonight,” Bird Rock Elementary School Principal Andi Frost said as she welcomed hundreds of school and community members to the school’s black rooftop on May 26 for “Sensational at 70,” an open house to mark seven decades of BRES.

The event included dancing, classroom tours, a dessert truck, information tables from community groups such as the Bird Rock Community Council, and a scavenger hunt for interesting items from the art collection. permanent school of 64 pieces by local artists.

Bird Rock Elementary School’s mascot, Rocky the Pelican, leads a group dance.

(Elisabeth Frausto)

As Bird Rock Elementary’s mascot, Rocky the Pelican, led group dances and school officials sold BRES logo apparel, parents, alumni, current students and staff at the retreat gathered to chat and socialize.

“Part of what makes BRE so incredibly beautiful and special is the community,” Frost said. “It’s a great school physically. And each of you… are what make BRE such a beautiful and beautiful community.

San Diego Councilman Joe LaCava said he is best known in Bird Rock for being the husband of former teacher Lorene LaCava.

San Diego Councilman Joe LaCava said he is best known in Bird Rock for being the husband of former teacher Lorene LaCava.

(Elisabeth Frausto)

San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, agreed that Bird Rock teachers and parent volunteers would continue the legacy of BRES.

“That’s what makes it special,” he said.

LaCava, a Bird Rock resident whose wife, Lorene LaCava, retired from BRES in 2020 after teaching there for 25 years, said “everything we do here is about the kids.”

Jenn Beverage, Co-Chair of the Bird Rock Foundationthe school’s parent-teacher organization said “you really can’t look in any direction without seeing a piece of artwork or a structure or something in a classroom or a tree that doesn’t was not given or created or supported by parents and teachers working together.”

Lorene LaCava said parent involvement has been integral to the school’s development since it opened in the fall of 1951 (the 70th anniversary celebration was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic).

“One of the early concerns was about the impact television was going to have on children,” she said. “From the start, [parents] formed opinions.

A photo in a hallway at Bird Rock Elementary School shows the school's first assembly on November 2, 1951.

A photo in a hallway at Bird Rock Elementary School shows the school’s first assembly on November 2, 1951.

(Elisabeth Frausto)

BRES, part of the San Diego Unified School District, has always been at 5371 La Jolla Hermosa Ave. He hosted just under 400 students in his first year to help reduce crowding at La Jolla Elementary School.

Lorene LaCava said the school nearly closed in 1979 because there were too many elementary schools in La Jolla (La Jolla, Decatur, Scripps, and Torrey Pines elementary schools also served the area).

The district “sent all the fourth graders that year to Decatur,” she said, “and the parents here got so upset they really rallied, and [BRES] ended up staying open.

Eventually, SDUSD closed Decatur and Scripps. The others remain open.

BRES owes its longevity to “the spirit of generosity that exists here and in the community”, said Lorene LaCava. “So many of the students I’ve taught over the years, their parents…went to Bird Rock.”

Before families attending the open house toured the campus and classrooms, which were open to everyone for the first time since before the pandemic, first-grade teacher Lorraine Turner led the crowd in “BRE Turns 70,” a song she wrote to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Students and adults sang heartily, adding excitement to the closing lines: “BRE is 70, 70, 70; BRE turns 70, oh what a pleasure it has been. ◆

window.fbAsyncInit = function() {
FB.init({ appId: ‘125832154430708’, xfbml: true,
version: ‘v12.0’
});
};
if (document.getElementById(‘facebook-jssdk’) === null) {
const js = document.createElement(‘script’);
js.id = ‘facebook-jssdk’;
js.src=”https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js”;
js.async = true;
js.setAttribute(‘crossorigin’, ‘anonymous’)
window.setTimeout(function () {
document.head.appendChild(js);
}, 1500);
}