Memories of Big Park Community School

Alan L. McNulty 

My daughter attended Big Park as an eighth grader when the School opened. After college her first job as a teacher was at Big Park. This year was her 14th year teaching there. All four of my grandchildren attended Big Park. My oldest grandson just graduated with high honors from SRRHS and will attend UofA with scholarships this next fall . My other three grandchildren are still in the Sedona school district and doing very well. I feel that their success in school so far is due largely to the early education they received from the excellent, caring teachers at Big Park Community School. 

Thursday's final flag ceremony was indeed very sad. The saddest thought I had is that the magic is going away and now there are just buildings here. I hope and pray a community school will be on this site again.  Thank you for your support of the school.

Gail Simpson

It’s been a delight and privilege knowing such a remarkably skilled and dedicated staff, meeting such enthusiastic and supportive parents and watching such happily thriving kids. There was true love, pride and passion in that school, and it proved to be a joy and inspiration to all of us. May it always live in our hearts.

Katie Chorlton

Big Park Community School PTSA 

“Can I help?”  These words make my heart sing, and I especially appreciate them when they come from the mouths of children. Whether we were preparing for Cinco de Mayo, the Pancake Breakfast or a Family Dance, I often had Big Park students approach me to see how they could help. As president of Big Park PTSA, one of my biggest goals was to engage our children -- to ask them to participate in making great things happen, instead of just letting everything unfold (or not) before them. Our students sought Big Park Fun Run donations, sold golf balls for the Rotary Club's golf ball drop, helped prepare for our many fun, family events ... we even had more than 200 kids working together on campus (some of them for hours) to beautify our grounds one spring day a couple of years ago.  Big Park Community School already taught kids how to make a difference. I’m proud that Big Park PTSA was able to further support this effort.  I’m confident that our students (and staff) will go on to make amazing things happen, wherever they go in life. 

Diane Wilson-Thomas 

Big Park Elementary School ... the end of a "Big Dream." We moved to VOC five years ago and my first love was listening to the children playing in the playground from our backyard.  I was a teacher so this was my fix from retirement.  I shall miss their happy laughter and giggles that made my day. Sorrow has touched us all in the Village. Big Park Elementary School in the Village of Oak Creek first opened in 1994. Because of shrinking enrollment mainly due to many charter schools taking our funds and public student population, the school board voted to close it after 24 years.

Now some of these students will have to travel 1 1/2 hours each way daily to attend the remaining K-6 in West Sedona. There are many unhappy parents who will have to endure this time-consuming change. I personally think the Sedona School Board made a very bad decision by moving our Big Park Middle School to West Sedona last year, resulting in this decreased enrollment. 

The school was actively incorporating the esteemed International Baccalaureate Curriculum, which will now cease with the school closure. A sad loss in an attempt to improve America’s educational results.

Carolyn Fisher

The final flag-raising ceremony was a bittersweet event.  Wonderful to see many of the students we have tutored being recognized as they move forward in their education, but so sad to lose the school that has been such a positive presence in our community.  We will continue to support the students, teachers and administrators wherever they go next year and in the future.  The Sedona Literacy Center will continue its work on the consolidated campus and, perhaps, in another location.

Don Groves, Site Council President

Jan Groves, Site Council Curriculum Committee Chair

Big Park Community School is aptly named. It is truly the community’s school with unparalleled support behind it for the past 24 years. The loss of our school leaves a void both in the community and in our hearts.

Gretchen E. Vorbeck, President

We Value Our Teachers Foundation

We’ve all experienced magical places, with a distinctive resonance over the years. Big Park Community School is one of those special places. The building may be closed but the people who were part of that community will never be forgotten.

I was one of many who attended the final flagpole ceremony on May 24th. Amid the tears, the occasion was celebratory; there was even a sense of beauty within the depth of our collective sorrow. Even though the lights have been turned off and the doors locked, we will always remember the love.

Mr. Richard, the custodian for 30 years, was one of many who served honorably at Big Park Community School. Somehow saying thank you and expressing our gratitude to all of you who contributed to creating Big Park Community School's magic, doesn’t seem enough, but nonetheless, thank you one and all.

David Gill

Our work with teachers and volunteers over the last 2 1/2 years has provided me with very fulfilling and everlasting memories  I told the teachers to keep their heads held high as they did very well to improve our school and that there is no more noble profession than education.

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