Local Cardiff Elementary School Celebrating 100th Birthday

Courtest Cardiff School
Courtest Cardiff School
The Cardiff community and Cardiff School alumni are invited to attend Cardiff School’s 100th anniversary celebration ceremony at Cardiff School on Thursday, February 6th at 8:30 a.m.  The original Cullen bell will chime 100 times in honor of the birthday and a small reception and short program will follow, including a student play about the history of Cardiff.

Thursday, February 6, 2014 is especially significant as it marks the 100th day of the 100th year of school. Every year the children, especially the Kindergartners, celebrate the 100th day by doing activities surrounding the number 100. This year will be a special 100th day as the original bell will chime to herald the second century of Cardiff School. 

The Cullen Bell, weighing 250 pounds, was cast in 1828 in steel and purchased for the school by a school board trustee in 1924 for $20 from a wrecked train engine in Santa Ana. When the campus was rebuilt in 1950 and the named changed from the Cullen School to Cardiff School, the original design did not include a belfry for the school bell. The town of Cardiff was upset about the loss of the historic bell and eventually the school board authorized a belfry to be added at the entrance to the bungalow style school building. The bell is no longer used to signal the beginning of each school day, but when in use it was an honor and a privilege to be able to tug on the rope and clang the clapper of the auspicious bell.   

The Cardiff School District is a small coastal school district made up of roughly 700 students in kindergarten through six grade. Originally there was one school called the Cullen school, which served kindergarten through 8th grade. Today, Cardiff School district is split into two schools: Cardiff for Kindergarten through third grade and Ada Harris for 3rd through 6th grade. "Cardiff School District is a wonderful place for kids to learn” said Jill Vinson, the current school district superintendent, “Our amazing staff, actively involved parents and supportive community members work together to provide a high quality education and beautiful facilities for our children. We are very proud of our outstanding schools!"

The great grandchildren of the owner of the construction company that built the current Cardiff school campus in 1950 began Kindergarten at the school this year. “I grew up feeling a sense of pride knowing that my grandpa Milton Smith built Cardiff School because he wanted his children and grandchildren to have a safe, modern place to learn,” said Catherine Smith Blakespear. “With his four children attending the school he underbid the job to make sure he got the contract and built the school for $90,000. It’s a true joy for me to be able to celebrate this century milestone with the Cardiff community and pass this type of local history down to my children.”

In honor of this special birthday, the Cardiff Schools Education Association (SEA), a fundraising organization made up of parents and community volunteers, has challenged parents and community members to donate 100 checks for $100 during the week of the celebration to ensure that Cardiff Schools are just as special for the next 100 years. We welcome anyone to join us!

–Cardiff School Press Release


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