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Hansen Elementary School Kicks Off 50th Anniversary Celebration with 60s Day

The Hansen School "Communities," a program which brings together students of all ages, is celebrating the "Year of 50," in recognition of the school's 50th anniversary. The celebration started with a 60s Day.

Dressed like go-go girls and hippies and showing off flower power-themed clothing, tie-dye t-shirts, peace signs, Afro wigs and colored glasses, students and staff at the Hansen Elementary School in Stoughton celebrated the 1960s this past Monday.

The 60s Day kicked off the school's 50th anniversary celebration, which will continue throughout the rest of the school year.

The Hansen School (formerly the Chemung Hill School), located at the corner of Central and West Streets, opened for the 1962-1963 school year, principal Faye Polillio said. The Polillio family knows the school well -  Polillio's husband was in the first grade at the school when it opened, and a member of the family has been in the building whether it be attending or working at the school, ever since.

This 50th anniversary is being used a the theme for a community program run at the school which allows adult and child alike to interact with people they might not otherwise see during the school day.

For the third straight year, students and staff at the Hansen have been split into community groups. These "communities," each comprised of 16-18 students across all grade levels (K-5), with two adult community leaders, meet once a month, Polillio said.

The first two years of the program embraced the "Year of Community" and "Year of the Environment." This year, is "The Year of 50," in recognition of the school's big milestone anniversary.

Once a month for the rest of the school year, the Hansen will celebrate a different decade, from the 70s to the present.

Each community group gets together and picks a topic to study for that decade, like transportation, television, music, historical events, fashion, toys, books, etc., and creates a poster illustrating the highlights of the decade. The community groups keep the same topic throughout this "Year of 50," Polillio said, so one group will be studying music, for example, each decade from the 60s to today.

In addition to dressing up for 60s day, students got together and sang "Welcome to the 60's" from Hairspray as part of a school-wide assembly. Hansen School fifth graders heard from Dwight MacKerron of the Stoughton Historical Society about what life was like in town when the school first opened.

Students stay in the same community group throughout their stay at the Hansen, Polillio said, with graduating fifth grade members of each community being replaced by incoming kindergarteners each school year.

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