Wallace Elementary School’s classic red brick, crisp green lawns and simple playgrounds — all very similar to Lake Highlands Elementary a few miles up the road — contribute to the neighborhood charm. A memorial near the front entrance dedicated to a teacher, Dorothy Green, who taught for 31 years, speaks to the Wallace community’s appreciation of its most loyal members. This year, the school is recognizing its own longevity with a yearlong 50th birthday celebration. “We’ve basically dedicated the whole year to the celebration,” says Julie Punjak, who is on the anniversary committee. Organizers have held skate night at White Rock Skate and a few other events in honor of the milestone, but the big party will probably take place next fall, she says. Punjak happily recalls her days as a student at Wallace Elementary School in Lake Highlands. She’s so fond of the school and the neighborhood that she never strayed much, and these days she enjoys watching her own children — third-grader Maribeth and fifth-grader Hunter — experience the special sense of community she says she found there. “It hasn’t changed that much, though it’s bigger now. It’s always been a significant part of the Lake Highlands neighborhood,” she says. Wallace opened Sept. 14, 1959, named for Sam and Marguerite Wallace, who donated the10 acres of farmland on which the campus was constructed, and it has been somewhat of a leader among area schools over the years, piloting one of the first local school councils and the requirement of school uniforms. 

For more info about Wallace 50th Anniversary activities, visit wallacepta.org