In December, during her time in America, Paula visited Gardner Street Elementary School. Here is her report.
VISIT TO GARDNER STREET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Today, was a special day during my visit to the States for me, because today I visited Michael’s school, Gardner Street Elementary in Los Angeles. I was lucky to meet several of the administration staff along with the longstanding Principal of the school, Mr Urbina. Mr Urbina was one of the people that fought hard to have Michael’s name on the school auditorium uncovered after it had been so unfairly covered due to the 2005 trials.
I was shown around the school, including the blackboard where Michael signed his name, the auditorium where the kids were holding an event and Michael’s 6th grade classroom, which is now the music lab. The original piano in the classroom still sits proudly in front of the classroom in the top right hand corner. The Principal also told me that they are planning to open a new classroom in the near future that will be called, ‘The Michael Jackson’ classroom. The kids all know Michael’s connection to the school, it seems to be part of the curriculum and pictures drawn of him by them adorn the hallway walls.
Walking down the corridors and up and down the stairs, I could almost picture a little Michael running up and down the same stairs and as I looked out onto the playground, I could picture him playing with his classmates and brothers there.
I was made to feel very welcome and the Principal and the staff were more than happy to show me around and explain a little about the history of the school and Michael’s attendance there. Mr Urbina informed me that it was Berry Gordy and Diana Ross that bought Michael and the Jackson 5 to the school, due to the fact that when they first came to LA they stayed with both Berry and Diana who lived close by at that time. The Principal also stated that Michael and his brothers attended Gardner School until their fame made it impossible for them to remain at the school and they had to be privately tutored.
It was a truly memorable experience and for a while I felt that I had taken a trip back in history, Michael Jackson’s history.