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Quail Summit Elementary School Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Employees past and present share memories of the Diamond Bar campus.

Quail Summit Elementary School celebrated its 25th anniversary with a jog-a-thon fundraiser, commemorative assembly, and In N Out family picnic on Friday

Morning events began at 8:30 a.m. when students, staff, and parents walked, jogged, and raced during the annual jog-a-thon fundraiser. The Diamond Bar High Drum Line entertained the participants as they circled the grassy course and then enjoyed frozen treats after the morning jaunt.

At 10:15 a.m., the school gathered in the amphitheater to commemorate the 25th anniversary of service to students. Student Council President Debbie Yim led the flag salute and former Quail Summit student Jennifer Gallego (and daughter of Office Assistant Diana Lance) sang the national anthem.

The program also included a choral performance and traditional Chinese lion dance.

Mascot Quincy the Quail joined Principal Dr. Alysia Hobbs-Odipo on stage to acknowledge special guests in attendance including former principals Dr. Carolyn Haugen and Mrs. Geri Mullen, original staff members, and dedicated community friends.

“What a wonderful day! Our 25th anniversary is a very big deal and we’re pausing today to celebrate this extraordinary journey,” Hobbs said.

We have so many people here that have filled our community and have made it the wonderful place for you and me today,” she added.

“As principal, Dr. Carolyn Haugen set high standards. And her heart and soul are still with us today,” said Second Grade Teacher Kathy McLean.

“It’s truly an honor to introduce Quail Summit’s first head quail!” she said.

Haugen shared how the vision for the new Diamond Bar School became a reality.

“Twenty-six years ago, this area was a vacant lot with no buildings. There was only one thing; it was a dream that we could all make something happen. And if you work really hard and have a team and community working together - your dreams can come true,” she said.

“It started with one building and then they brought in other buildings. We opened on time and it was the miracle of Quail Summit.  You’re all part of that miracle,” she said. “You are the future and the part that you play in keeping the dream of Quail Summit alive." 

Haugen also reminded students to think about their school colors – blue and brown. 

“Blue represents the sky. When you do your best, you can soar. Brown represents dirt and the foundation. Each day, think of the foundation you’re standing on and think of what you can do to reach for the sky. Thank you for continuing the dream,” she said.

Teacher Leann Legind introduced the school’s second principal, Jeri Mullen.

“I remember that she loves to laugh with children and she loves the joy of learning.  One time she let us turn her into a human sundae when the kids read a certain number of books, and another time all the teachers danced on the roof,” Legind said.

Quail Summit has been acknowledged for excellence with the California Distinguished School Award with Haugen and the National Blue Ribbon Award with Mullen.

Mullen told the group of 635 students that their teachers really love them and want to make every day special.

“What I really remember about Quail Summit was the fun and that we were all a family. And Dr. Hobbs has continued that culture here,” Mullen said.

“It doesn’t matter who the principal is, it's the everlasting culture about really caring about kids and about each other. You are very lucky to be at this school and I feel very lucky to have been a principal here. It will stay with me all the rest of my life,” she said.

Teacher Diane Penticoff, an original staff member, introduced the school’s current principal, Dr. Hobbs.

“You see her every day, she comes to visit your classrooms. She loves reading and she loves books. It seems to be a thread that our Quail Summit principals love reading and love books,” Penticoff said. “Dr. Hobbs guides us, leads us, and teaches us every day.” 

Quail Summit has been very lucky to have had three outstanding female leaders. And what an example they have set for all of our children, and especially our girls. It’s a reminder that all of you can do something really important with your life, she said.

Hobbs lauded the students for their dedication.

“What an absolutely remarkable place this is because you sit engaged in learning every single day in your classrooms. You make this an extraordinary place to be,” she said. “Boys and girls we see you bright and early in the morning, with your backpacks, and you are committed to learning. We care so much about you and do our very best for you.” 

The three principals took the stage as city of Diamond Bar Mayor Jack Tanaka presented the school with a Certificate of Special Recognition.  

“I saw this school being built and we lived in this neighborhood. We knew this would be a wonderful place,” he said.

Resident Toni Lewis turned the first spade of dirt at the school’s groundbreaking. Lewis served as neighborhood chairman and went to Los Angeles to visit Supervisor Pete Schabarum.

“I’ve been very involved in the community for over 30 years, but of all the things I’ve been proud of in my life it’s that,” she said. 

Retired Deputy Rick Wright worked at Quail Summit for 11 years with the STAR Program from 1996-2006.

“The staff was very progressive and they were really interested in the kids – not just teaching them but molding them into future adults. And it was always a pleasure to be a part of this family,” he said.

Barbie Deaton, the school's first office manager recalled Quail Summit's start.

“Darn tootin’! We opened in 1988 in a portable on a dirt lot with skunks," she said. “We knew after the kids left in the late afternoon that we had move very quietly because you could see them through the floor boards.”

Deaton, now retired, recalled the first day as one of her favorite memories.

“Gilda (Kiernan) and I were in the trailer and a backhoe hit a power line. We thought it was the earthquake of the century. So we sent the kids to the zoo and we were resourceful and went shopping at the mall. So the first day was a peach!” she said.

--Walnut Valley Unified School District

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