Parkland, Ground Hog dinner, blood

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Yukon Progress, Yukon Review, Life In Narrative, Conrad Dudderar

One of Yukon’s true “community” schools is celebrating a monumental anniversary with a truly special event next week.

Parkland Elementary School, 2201 S Cornwell, is marking 40 years in 2019. The school opened in 1979 and was named after the surrounding Parkland addition when Yukon was experiencing an early version of a “housing boon.”

Fast forward four decades and current Parkland Principal Lance Haggard invites past Parkland students, teachers and parents to a 40th anniversary celebration from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 at the school.

The celebration will be held in conjunction with the school’s regular open house, so a big crowd is expected.

What an occasion this will be. Food trucks, an old-fashioned cake walk, silent auction, photo booth, and more are planned.

A highlight will be the live auction of a painting of a bison that will be done that day by local artist Zonly Looman

If you hadn’t seen it already, please check out the front page of the Community section in the Jan. 26th edition of The Yukon Progress for a feature article about 40 years of Parkland School.

As a school fundraiser, attendees at the Feb. 7th celebration will pay $5 each so they can write messages and sign a large canvas across from the Parkland school office. The wall features a large handmade drawing of the school made by Yukon High School math teacher Bobby Boyd.

When I came to Yukon in spring 1991, the principal at Parkland was Dwayne Bunch. I recall one of the first photographs I took as a cub newspaper reporter was “Mr. Bunch” accepting a donation on behalf of Parkland School from the manager of the Yukon Walmart. (That was when Walmart was still in the Chisholm Trail shopping center before the super center was built on Garth Brooks Boulevard).

Dwayne served as principal at Parkland until 1999, later becoming the Yukon school district’s testing director before retiring. His wife Su was a longtime teacher in Yukon.
Principal at Parkland School before Dwayne was the late Janice McComas, who later became principal at the then-Independence Middle School (now Independence Elementary School … eventually to be Independence Primary School).

Haggard is continuing the tradition of outstanding, steady leadership at Parkland Elementary School. Lance started as a fifth-grade teacher in Parkland the same year I came to Yukon. He took over as principal in 1999 to succeed Dwayne Bunch, and has been there for 20 years and counting.

That’s quite a testament to his commitment to the families of the Parkland School community. Anyone who has had any association with Parkland over the past 40 years must make plans to attend the big anniversary celebration next Thursday.

Make sure to stop by and tell Mr. Haggard and Mr. Bunch how much they’ve meant to so many Parkland children’s lives.

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A great tradition that Yukon has is the annual Ground Hog Dinner at the First United Methodist Church, 400 Elm. This year will be the 63rd year, and I’ve been to about 25 of them. If you’ve never gone, you need to this year!

For many years, attendance would be around 1,500, but event coordinator Russ Kline says it’s dipped in the past few years by a few hundred.

Please attend this Saturday, Feb. 2 and help the United Methodist Men get back to the 1,500 mark! This year’s Ground Hog Dinner is on Ground Hog Day this year. The meal is served continuously from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Stop by the church or call 354-8858 to get your advance tickets.

Sorry, no ground hog on the menu. But you will feast on sausage patties, biscuits and gravy, Czech-style sauerkraut and ribs, and new potatoes. You can put gravy or apple butter on your biscuits.

This dinner benefits a great cause, including several church mission projects and local helping agencies like Yukon Sharing, Compassionate Hands and Manna Pantry. Come hungry and go home satisfied.

Yukon’s Ground Hog Dinner is a true community feed, and it takes a village of volunteers to make it all happen. See you there!

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Don’t forget to attend Yukon’s “sweetest” annual special event, also this Saturday!
The Yukon Chocolate Festival is a “can’t miss” for anyone who wants to taste some delectable chocolates and other sugary treats prepared by local individuals, businesses and civic groups. It will be 1-3 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore.

A ticket entitles you to try 10 samples at this pre-Valentine’s day event. Tickets are $15 each. Call 354-8232 or 350-8937.

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Are you feeling charitable and unafraid of needles?

Then give blood during an Oklahoma Blood Institute blood drive from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11 at Allbright Mortgage, 11216 NW Expressway in Yukon.