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Music teacher Chris Frasu leads students in singing during the March 18 ceremony at Ashurst Elementary School commemorating the school’s 50th anniversary and upcoming closing.

Photo by John Hollis

Ashurst Elementary School says goodbye after 50 years

30 Mar 2015 | Eve A. Baker Marine Corps Base Quantico

The Ashurst Elementary School community bid a warm farewell to the school’s storied past before turning their eyes to a promising future with a touching musical program that marked the school’s 50th anniversary and its upcoming closure.

“It’s an amazing reward,” said Department of Defense Dependents Schools District Superintendent Michael Gould, “to see the future and remember all the amazing times.”

Roughly 350 students, parents, current staff, past staff  and alums gathered in the school gymnasium on March 18 to celebrate the school’s many accomplishments since its opening in 1965. Ashurst is among the three elementary schools aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico that will soon close, with their students merging into the new Crossroads Elementary. Burrows Elementary and Russell Elementary are also closing. The last day at the current schools will be March 26, with the first day in the new school following a two-week spring break on April 13.

School principal Kathy Downs lauded the occasion as “a celebration of 50 years of excellence.”

The student-run musical program consisted of grade-level performances from the school’s Pre-K through third grade students. Music teacher Chris Frasu oversaw the performances, while former music teacher Terrelyn Gillespie manned the piano for most of the performance.

The school, whose diverse population includes 45 students who speak 16 languages other than English, was named in honor of Marine Brig. Gen. William Wallace Ashurst, one of the nation’s top rifle marksmen in the 1920s who helped pioneer the development of rifle competitions in the Marine Corps.

Notable visitors over the years have included former First Ladies Barbara Bush and Lynne Cheney; Mrs. Bonnie Amos, the wife of the 35th commandant of the Marine Corps; and Maj. Gen. Andrew O’Donnell, who attended Ashurst when it opened and now has a daughter attending the school.

“It’s kind of bittersweet for all of us,” Downs said. “But we’re looking forward to the next adventures.”

— Writer:

Marine Corps Base Quantico