Chamberlin Administrative Assistant Rose Dattilio’s love for the school started when she was a fourth grader in 1965. She is shown here with a plaque commemorating the school’s 50th anniversary, and in her class photo.

Chamberlin Turns 50!

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Thursday April 02, 2015

“Classes in South Burlington’s new $415,000 Gertrude E. Chamberlin Elementary School are scheduled to begin March 8. The new school, named after Miss Gertrude E. Chamberlin who taught in South Burlington for 50 years, will house grades 1-6 … approximately 279 pupils will move into the school immediately from Central School and from the five temporary classrooms …”
— Burlington Free Press, 2/16/65

Staff, family, community members, and students recently spent a week reminiscing from 1965 to the present, to celebrate 50 years of sharing, caring, and learning together at our youngest elementary school in South Burlington. Former graduates and staff members of Chamberlin shared their fondest memories, which were read on the daily school announcements.

The kick off to the 50th birthday assembly was given by Superintendent Young, who wished the staff and students continued success. A team of 5th graders then presented various facts about the history of the school. Everyone enjoyed a walk down memory lane with a video presentation that included class photos from the late 1960’s, and video stories from former staff and students. Marilyn Dunn, the school’s first principal, explained how the school began with no kindergarten, and that students all went home for lunch, as it was built as a true neighborhood school. Former teacher, Sue Stewart, described the formation of the Builder’s Club – a community service organization that was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. Bryon Ladd Sr., Kelly Cartularo, and Brett Leonard, shared their experiences at Chamberlin as students, including the Dime a Dip Suppers, Mr. Emmon’s gymnastics shows, and the nurturing staff who supported and encouraged them during their learning experiences.

Principal Holly Rouelle, who is just the fourth principal to serve Chamberlin spoke at the assembly about recent school memories, “For me, what makes our school special, are the daily moments that we have together. It’s sharing a laugh with a staff member over something funny that happened that day. It’s sitting in your classrooms and watching how passionate your teachers are about teaching you, or how excited you are to learn. It’s eating lunch with you and hearing about your after school activities or what you did over the weekend. It’s acknowledging the hard work that you do every day to be respectful, responsible, and safe, of course with a bee buck, and helping you to get back on track as you strive to get better as a Chamberlin student. It’s knowing all of you by name and getting a “Hello Ms. Rouelle” or a quiet wave, or even a hug in the hallway. These are the daily acts of kindness that are our today moments, the moments that just maybe, will be our memories to celebrate in the next 50 years.”

And what would a birthday celebration be without presents and cake? The Cavka family created a beautiful 50 year plaque to display in the lobby, and Nutritional Services made a giant tiered cake that was rolled out at the assembly. Ms. Rose Dattilio, our current Administrative Assistant who was a third grader at Chamberlin when the doors opened, accepted the plaque on behalf of the school, and helped blow out the candles with Ms. Rouelle. A special birthday lunch, including cake, was served to students and staff.

Birthday festivities continued into the weekend with a Family Dance Party on Saturday night, sponsored by the Chamberlin PTO. Chamberlin parent Chris Hill served as DJ and created a dance list that brought us from the 1960’s into the 21st century! Highlights of the dance included entering the gymnasium through the original front door, a whole group dance to the song, The Loco-Motion, led by Principal Rouelle, and birthday cupcakes to end the evening. Information from 1965 and quotes of favorite memories from former alumni were posted throughout the building. Class photos through the years were also on display.

The Chamberlin School family is grateful to the PTO, the South Burlington Alumni Association, and the Chamberlin Schoolwide Events Committee for all of their help in planning this birthday celebration. Special thanks to community members who took the time to share their memories with us.

Share Your Story

Are you a history buff? Volunteers are needed to help gather and document South Burlington’s history in preparation for a citywide celebration in honor of the
150th anniversary. Call The Other Paper to find out how you can be involved; 864-6670.