Anne Witherspoon couldn’t stop smiling Saturday as she greeted guests to the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Mack School.
After taking photographs of each of the classroom doors she fondly recalls walking through from K-6th grade in 1959-1966, Witherspoon spent the afternoon reminiscing, hugging old classmates, and grinning.
Witherspoon was one of about 150 people who attended the event, many filling the A2 Open at Mack School auditorium for a two-hour program of music, shared memories, and laughter.
The celebration included informal tours, talks about the history of the school, teachers, and principals, as well as music by Joan Belgrave and Charles Larkins, Jr., and of course, singing the Mack School song.
The program was organized by a group of alumni headed by Holly Eliot, who said she was overwhelmed by the attendance and couldn’t be happier with the day.
Pete Bronson read a column he wrote for when he was with the Cincinnati Enquirer about his fourth grade teacher at Mack, Nettie Green, “the toughest and best teacher I ever had … She made each of us feel special because she believed in us enough to demand our best.”
Bill Malcolm, who came to Mack School from Jones School in fourth grade, echoed those sentiments, saying that Miss Green became his second mother, and that he will never forget the many field trips she took students on, in some cases at her own expense.
Mack Elementary School opened at the corner of Miller and Seventh Street in 1923. In 1998, Bach Open School moved to the Mack School building and was renamed Ann Arbor Open at Mack.
In 2007, a major renovation and addition took place to incorporate a K-8 education, which doubled the size of the building.
More details here: History of Open Education and the Ann Arbor Open Program