Emerson Elementary celebrates 100 years
FPC education partner, Emerson Elementary, opened their doors in 1913 on a site just north of today’s school grounds. To mark this year long celebration, Emerson is planning a benefit event to help raise funds for class field trips. First Presbyterian is invited to their Centennial Jubilee –Silent Auction and dinner on May 2nd from 6pm to 8 pm at Emerson Elementary.
In 1913 Emerson started as a white neighborhood school serving the homes on ‘the hill’, north of downtown. Post war, Emerson served a blended community. When the U.S. Courts ordered desegregation in the early 1970’s Emerson was already naturally integrated with the neighborhood surrounding the school. Emerson served as a model school on how desegregation worked and was visited by delegates from all over the U.S. and internationally.
In 1976 Emerson became Tulsa’s first magnet elementary school, opening to students from throughout the city. In 1977-78 the new Emerson building was opened and there was a wait list to experience the magnet school that emphasized fine arts and individual instruction with an innovative design of open classrooms. Emerson’s unique offerings included a piano laboratory, a potter’s wheel and instruction in dance and drama. They also had a miniature television studio and horticulture program with a greenhouse.
In the late 1990’s Emerson transitioned back to a neighborhood school. Buses pick up children from local shelters including DVIS, Laura Dester Shelter, John 3:16 and Day Center for the Homeless. During this time magnet school money was pulled from Emerson to other schools. Emerson however was determined to keep going and found grant money and started to build corporate partners. Emerson partners help to support weak spots with mentoring to students and helping with the purchase of educational items that otherwise would be purchased by teachers as an out of pocket expense. Three years ago Emerson was under consideration to be one of among fourteen schools to close. With the voices of many alumni and community leaders, Emerson’s doors remained open.
Emerson today is an open concept/classroom school where teachers can stay in touch and have a caring community feeling. Usually with an urban school there is a high turnover of teachers. Not at Emerson. Some teachers have been at teaching at Emerson for over 20 years and many of their children have attended Emerson.
What you can do to help with Emerson’s Centennial Celebration:
- Attend the Silent Auction and Dinner on May 2nd from 6-8 at Emerson. Dinner is $10 for ages 12 and up and $5.00 for 11 and under. Tickets are available at the door and on-line at http://emerson.tulsaschools.org/ via Paypal. Funds raised will be used for educational field trips.
- Donate items for silent auction baskets
- Volunteer to help serve dinner (by Libby Auld of Elote, one of Emerson’s graduates) or help with the auction.
- Please email Cindy DeVore at if you can assist with volunteering or basket donations or call Cindy at 918-630-2636