Tryon Elementary School hosts Centennial Celebration

Published 12:25 pm Monday, October 16, 2023

Event features historic displays, music and more


TRYON—On Saturday, October 14, Tryon Elementary School held a Centennial Celebration that honored the building and the generations of students, staff and faculty that have passed through its halls over the last century. The school first opened its doors in October of 1923.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The well-attended celebration began with an opening ceremony in the auditorium and the introductions of TES principal Dr. Cari Maneen and Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene. Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples, a former Tryon Elementary principal, then presented Dr. Maneen with a proclamation recognizing the school and its century of serving the community. The ceremony was capped off by a rousing rendition of the school’s alma mater led by Woody Cowan, accompanied by Sue Wilson on piano.

Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples presents Principal Dr. Cari Maneen and staff member Lori Muse with a proclamation honoring the school. (Photo by Storme Smith)

The event featured live music from the Old Dogs Band, a spaghetti lunch, a book giveaway and several fun photo opportunities. Visitors were also allowed to tour the classrooms and enjoy displays of trivia, yearbooks and old pictures.

“Tryon Elementary has been a beloved place in Tryon,” Superintendent Greene said. “From its time as a comprehensive school serving all grades, Tryon Elementary has been revered as a high-performing school with outstanding faculty and tremendous students and families.” 

Mayor Peoples recalled how he had spent 52 years in education, including serving as principal at Tryon Elementary, and the last time he spoke on the stage at Tryon Elementary was for an 8th-grade graduation in 1990.

“Today is another great day in Tryon and for education in the area,” he said.

Another former Principal, Walker Williams, who led the school from 1985-1990 and 1998-2013, expressed his gratitude for having had the opportunity to work with the fantastic staff, faculty and students. 

“Seeing so many of them here today is a blessing,” said Williams.

The celebration also included prizes for former students and staff who were the oldest and youngest and had traveled the furthest distance. Ruth Foy, Class of ‘48, won a gift bag for being the oldest alumnus in attendance. Foy shared fond memories of her time at the school. 

Ruth Foy of Tryon, Class of ‘48, took home the prize bag for the oldest alumnus in attendance. (Photo by Storme Smith)

“It was a great place for me,” she said. “I even won the award for Most Athletic Girl in my class. My Daddy didn’t have a car, so I would have to get up early and walk to school along the train tracks with my Dad. And when you heard that train whistle blow, you knew you better get out of the way.”

Dr. Maneen thanked Columbus Mayor Pat McCool and John Vining for helping organize the event, along with the Polk County Community Foundation for providing the funds for the celebration and the Kramer Foundation for granting funds to create a sensory garden named Centennial Park, an area outside of the school for the community to enjoy. 

There are 100-year commemorative t-shirts for sale from the PTA celebrating the school’s milestone, along with bricks to be used to build the Tiger Trail that will lead to Centennial Park. 

Tryon Elementary School has been a fixture in the community for a century and remains a beacon of excellence in education. As the school looks to the future, it continues to build on the legacy of the past and the generations of students and staff who have passed through its halls.

Historical displays were set up in the gymnasium. (Photo by Storme Smith)