|Speakers at the 50th anniversary celebration included (from left): Louise Hole, first principal of Ridge School; Laura Mullan, PTA President; BCPS Superintendent Dr. Joe A. Hairston; BCPS Board of Education Vice President Dr. Warren Hayman; Jacob Lupo, chair of the 50th Anniversary Committee; and Ridge Ruxton Principal Edmund Bennett.|
With song, ceremony, and salutes, Ridge Ruxton School recently celebrated its 50th anniversary as one of Baltimore County’s premier special education schools.
Half a century ago, the Ridge School, as it was then known, opened its doors as the first special education school in Baltimore County, according to former principal Louise Hole. The school has been serving the needs of children ever since and has adopted the motto, “A Tradition of Caring.”
“This program,” noted Dr. Joe A. Hairston, Superintendent of the Baltimore County Public Schools, “has been the model for 50 years for special education. . . . The tradition of caring continues.”
During the Sept. 12 ceremony to honor the school’s 50 years, students, parents, and dignitaries joined together to hear musical selections, accolades from community, elected, and education leaders, and witness the burying of a time capsule and dedication of a commemorative garden and a small grove of trees.
Bright sunshine graced the special ceremony as the Ridge Ruxton Singers, led by Valerie Bleau and Sharon Weaver, delighted the crowd with a rendition of “The Ridge Ruxton School Song.” Afterwards, visitors to the school continued the celebration inside with refreshments and a special video.
|Dignitaries symbolically “watered” the time capsule so that Ridge Ruxton’s tradition of service and caring will flourish for another 50 years.|
“Since its opening,” said Ridge Ruxton Principal Ed Bennett, “the Ridge School – now called Ridge Ruxton School – has provided the opportunity for all students to attain personal fulfillment and a strong sense of self worth, maintaining that all students have the inherent ability to learn and to reach their individual potential.”
The school serves about 140 students with a variety of special needs from across much of northern Baltimore County. Ridge Ruxton School provides programs for students from 3 to 21 years of age who have been identified as developmentally delayed, intellectually limited, autistic-like, and/or multi-handicapped. Class sizes are small with a teacher and full time instructional assistant assigned to every class in order to provide individualized and small group instruction.
|The time capsule!|
Ridge School, which originally was located on Joppa Road overlooking the current school site, was merged with Ruxton School to become Ridge Ruxton School.
Noting the school’s slogan, Board of Education Vice President Dr. Warren Hayman said Ridge Ruxton exemplified service to its special students. “Children don’t care how much you know; they want to know how much you care,” he said. “Today, Ridge Ruxton is my school, too.”
|Dr. Warren Hayman chats during the celebration with longtime special education advocate Jasmine Shriver.|
During the anniversary celebration, much of
the staff and student body watched as Mr. Bennett
joined Dr. Hairston and Dr. Hayman in placing
the school’s time capsule into position
near a small grove of trees and ceremonial garden
created in honor of the past 50 years of the
school’s tradition and caring.
On hand to help the school celebrate were a variety of school and local officials, including members of the Baltimore County Board of Education, Dr. Hairston’s executive staff, and many of the school’s business partners.
Story and Photos by Charles Herndon, Communications Specialist