“This school first opened as a kindergarten in 1953,” said Principal Kirsten Jobb. “Now we know why the counters are so low in the three original buildings. We were fortunate enough to receive an Edna Hill T-shirt from a student who was a kindergartener here. It’s amazing to see the Edna Hill bobcat logo on such a tiny shirt. It makes you realize just how much history this place has.”
Today, Edna Hill is one of the Brentwood Union School District’s three middle schools. The school was recently designated a 2013 National Schools to Watch Model Middle School, an honor Edna Hill has received for three consecutive cycles.
To celebrate the milestone, Jobb and an anniversary committee are planning an event that includes student presentations, speeches by local dignitaries and a history walk to demonstrate how much the campus and its students have changed over the years.
Former principal and anniversary committee member Mary Black has deep connections to Edna Hill Middle School. She was a student of legendary East County educator for which the school is named.
“Edna Hill was a stern teacher, but that was because she had such high expectations of her students,” Black recalled. “She was a very intelligent woman. She started teaching when she was 16. She was an amazing woman. She had a great sense of humor. It’s been a lot of fun researching the history of the school.”
Black, Jobb and Edna Hill Librarian Karen Hardee have been intensively researching the school’s history with the help of the local historical society, but they know that many Brentwood residents who passed through the Edna Hill halls hold keys to unlocking many stories and memories to share with the public. No item is too small. A yearbook, a school shirt or a photograph can help tell Edna Hill’s story and make the anniversary celebration all the more special.
“I’m sure there are people out there who have Edna Hill artifacts in their garage boxed away,” Black said. “You’d be surprised what people hold on to. We’re asking the public to loan us items or let us make a copy of their photos so we can chronicle the school’s history and people can see how far the school has come.”
Jobb and Black are also working on contacting former faculty members and students who were at Edna Hill in its earliest years. If you have information, a contact phone number or mailing address for former faculty members and students, e-mail Calia Niles at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who would like to donate Edna Hill memorabilia should call Black at 925-206-5087.
The Edna Hill 60-year celebration is scheduled for Thursday, May 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. Edna Hill Middle School is located at 140 Birch St.