Marshall Elementary celebrates centennial of rebuilding after 1906 earthquake 

click to enlarge Lizzie Jeremi, who taught at Marshall Elementary School for 39 years before retiring in 2009, will be part of the centennial celebration at the school today. She says Marshall, which was rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake, has been a “vanguard” in education. - GABRIELLE LAURIE/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Gabrielle Laurie/Special to The S.F. Examiner
  • Lizzie Jeremi, who taught at Marshall Elementary School for 39 years before retiring in 2009, will be part of the centennial celebration at the school today. She says Marshall, which was rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake, has been a “vanguard” in education.

Marshall Elementary School has long stood out -- albeit quietly -- as a beacon for education.

As noted in a century-old San Francisco Examiner article about the school, Mayor James Rolph commended the advancement in learning of the institution, which today offers one of nine elementary-level Spanish-immersion pathways programs in The City, where classes are taught bilingually from kindergarten through fifth grade.

"It was in the days of old that this school was founded in the time intervening education has taken a mighty stride," Rolph was quoted. "With this advance has the Marshall School kept pace. Its zenith is reached today."

The "today" Rolph referred to was Dec. 11, 1914, when San Francisco dignitaries including Rolph dedicated and formally opened the new school at 15th and Capp streets in the Mission. The school is named after James Wilson Marshall, who was one of the first to find gold in California at the impetus of the Gold Rush.

Today, the 100th day of the school year, Marshall Elementary will mark its centennial anniversary since the school was rebuilt after the original structure burned down in the 1906 earthquake and fire. The school was first constructed in the 1850s on Mission Street between 15th and 16th streets.

Lizzie Jeremi, a teacher at Marshall for 39 years until she retired in 2009, said the school has always been a "vanguard" in education.

"Whenever there was something new coming that was looked upon as a positive way of teaching, we would always embrace it," Jeremi said.

The school, situated in the heart of the Mission, has also always accommodated the immigrant populations who have moved to The City in waves over the decades, from Irish and German residents to the Latino population, Jeremi noted.

"We're still the school that takes in all the communities that are new," she said.

Principal Peter Avila noted that the institution, one of the smaller elementary schools in the San Francisco Unified School District with about 250 students and less than two dozen teachers, has typically remained under the radar. The school made headlines last year when a controversial mixed-use development was proposed near the site.

"A lot of people don't even know this school is here," Avila said. "Even people that are city residents don't even know about this little school, and it's been here for 100 years."

In the 1970s, when the school relocated for a year to undergo state-mandated seismic upgrades, Jeremi said a time capsule was discovered that had apparently been buried in 1914. The time capsule included newspapers and notes about the school.

At the celebration of Marshall Elementary's centennial, the school plans to construct a new time capsule that will include a 2014 Giants World Series paper, a 2014 Harvey Milk stamp, class photos signed by students and other mementos.

City officials have been invited to attend today's celebration, which will include performances by students and various speakers.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Bio:
Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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