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Anthony Bowen Elementary School Appreciation Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by Naomi Mitchell   
Monday, 16 June 2008

On Friday, June 6, 2008, the SW community celebrated the contributions of the Anthony Bowen Elementary School with a Community Appreciation Day to help transition the students, parents, teachers and community of the closing school.

As part of the DCPS school consolidation plan, Anthony Bowen Elementary School is moving its current student body of pre-kindergarten through fourth graders to merge with children at nearby Amidon Elementary School.  The 5th and 6th graders will move to Jefferson Junior High which converts from a 7 - 9th grade junior high to a middle school with grades 6 - 8, starting this fall. Amidon’s name will be changed to Amidon-Anthony Bowen when it opens in September 2008.  The  Anthony Bowen facility will be recycled to house the First District Police Headquarters, reconfigured police functions and to include a small space for community use.

Recognizing the need to honor the strong community ties and the spirit of the closing school, Councilmember Wells supported the work of neighborhood leaders, community organizations, and the Bowen and Amidon principals, teachers, and parents to commeorate the history of the school which has served the Southwest community for the past 77 years.

Students MarchThe day began with a Unity Walk by Anthony Bowen students, parents, teachers, neighborhood leaders, and service organizations who have been partners with the school along with benefactors and supporters of the Community Appreciation Day. A crowd of nearly 400 people marched from Bowen to Amidon, with children and adults wearing matching blue and white tee shirts identifying the occasion and major sponsors. Most waved small American flags.  Leading the parade, wearing their traditional red and white uniforms and plummed white headdresses was the 12 member 3rd U.S. Army Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) "Fife and Drum Corps." based at nearby Fort McNair military base.  Officers from the First District MPD escorted the group and provided a safe walking route with traffic controls.  While drivers waiting to cross could have been annoyed by the long wait, many drivers were seen smiling at the sight.

Upon arrival at Amidon, the group was welcomed by large signs posted in front of the school and in the gymnasium. After joining in with the Amidon students in an assembly, the joint student-body together sang "We are the World" followed by comments from the current Amidon principal, John Goudeaux and the current Anthony Bowen principal Almeta Hawkins.  Ms. Hawkins will become the principal of Amidon-Bowen in the fall. 

The "Old Guard” marched them back to Anthony Bowen where they were serenaded upon their arrival by the Coolidge High School Marching Band Drum Line, led by Benjamin Sands, a Southwest DC native, who was the first Scholarship Recipient of the SW Neighborhood Assembly in the late 70's. Mr. Sands is also a former music teacher at Anthony Bowen, and is known locally for his jazz band.

PresentationA Recognition Program then began.  Speakers honored the man the school was named after, as well as past and present principals, teachers, volunteers, parents, teachers and students for their contributions over the years. Representatives from Councilmember Tommy Wells and Kwame Brown’s office presented a Council proclamation declaring June 6th Anthony Bowen Elementary School Appreciation Day.

A cook–out, games and activities were provided for the students and families for the remainder of the afternoon.  The Anthony Bowen YMCA  provided their Fun Van for activities and decorated the outdoor area with loads of helium balloons.  The Corcoran Museum of Art  provided art activities for the children. The Washington Nationals had a player on hand to greet and interact with the attendees.

Moon BounceThe SW Library branch joined with the Children's Division at the MLK Jr. Library to donate books for their summer’s "Big Read. Program." Many other community groups, churches, and developers, including  Hoffman-Struver Waterfront LLC, Waterfront Associates,  The SW Pastoral Group,  Friendship Baptist Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church, SW Jazz Night at Westminster, Jenny's Asian Fusion Restaurant, SW Neighborhood Assembly's Youth Activities Task Force, The Resident Councils of James Creek/Syphax Gardens/Greenleaf Gardens, Safeway, Entertainment Cruises,  McDermott Will & Emery Law Offices, DC Housing Authority, Ward 6 Tommy Wells Office, Fort Myer Military Community, the First District MPD, and the DC Public School System have made in-kind or financial contributions to make this community celebration possible.

NationalsThe Committee of Friends for Anthony Bowen Elementary School that planned and coordinated the activities that made the celebration possible, included Blossom Athey, Carolyn Smith, Christine Spencer, Irene Washington, Meg Brinckman, MPD Officer Worrell, Rev. Ruth Hamilton, Rhonda Hamilton, and Rick Bardach, with lead roles played by Rhonda Hamilton, and Ron McBee, ANC Commissioners for the areas served by the Anthony Bowen school, along with principal Almeta Hawkins and her staff.

Readers have left 2 comments.
(1) Untitled
2008-06-17 18:47:55
For many pictures of Anthony Bowen Appreciation Day activities visit the July, 2008, issue of The Southwester, print editions in orange boxes in the neighborhood and online at www.swdc.org. Dale MacIver, editor
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(2) Untitled
2008-07-11 08:17:32
Personally I am sad to see Bowen close. I myself graduated there in 1990 and my children were attending it is sad that the mayor cares more about the politics of the city than the children of of our future. Closing Bowen will be hurting the community not helping, because the school also housed the communitie #4 boys and girls club. Where will the youth go now to stay out of trouble?
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