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Archive for Tuesday, April 27, 1999

DEERFIELD CELEBRATES ITS 30TH ANNIVERSARY

April 27, 1999

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In conjunction with Deerfield School's 30th anniversary, students, teachers and parents at the school have purchased and dedicated a bench in memory of longtime crossing guard Harold Dotson.

For 22 years Harold Dotson was quick with a wave and a smile for Lawrence students.

More than anything he cared about children and held up his "Stop" sign so they could cross the street safely on their way to and from school.

"He had already signed up for this year," Dotson's daughter Mary Reyer said. "He was all excited and ready to go."

But Dotson died in June at age 88. On Monday his memory was honored with a dedication at Deerfield School.

Students, teachers and parents at the elementary school in northwest Lawrence raised money to buy a bench in memory of Dotson. The newly installed bench sits in the school's butterfly garden. An accompanying plaque bearing Dotson's name will be installed this week.

"From a parent's perspective he was a really important part of the neighborhood, Mary-Margaret Simpson said. Simpson is president of the Deerfield PTA and helped plan the bench dedication.

Dotson worked as a crossing guard for Hillcrest School and Cordley School students before taking up his Deerfield School post at Lawrence Avenue and Princeton Boulevard in 1987.

Verlin Gilbert, principal of Deerfield from 1968-1992, remembered Dotson as a loyal friend and conscientious helper.

"He taught us you can always make a difference in the lives of people around you," he said. "He taught us about kindness, respect, and he was always ready to give a helping hand."

The dedication coincides with 30th anniversary celebrations taking place this week at the school.

School administrators and teachers are planning an open house from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the school. Students will conduct tours and present a timeline of the school.

-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is jwatson@ljworld.com.

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