Brendan Sluke

Brendan Sluke

Fifty Pieces

No. 02

Ode To Eastwood Elementary School in the Early 2000s

A piece dedicated to the amazing staff and students that made Eastwood Elementary such a positive environment to grow up in during the early 2000s - West Fargo, North Dakota

Eastwood Elementary Sign Early 2000s

A Wave of Nostalgia

This weekend as my wife and I were assembling the crib for our nursery in anticipation of the arrival of our first child, the game "hop scotch" was brought up.

Following my childhood memories back to the games we use to play, I instantly thought of tether ball at Eastwood Elementary.

I was immediately overtaken by a wave of nostalgia as my mind was filled with the many amazing memories that I had at Eastwood Elementary.

I'm writing this piece to hopefully help other "kids" (now adults in our 20s and 30s!) feel the deep feelings of nostalgia and appreciation for the role that Eastwood Elementary served in preparing us for the later stages of our up bringing.

Attending Eastwood in the Early 2000s

I attended Eastwood starting in the Fall of 2000 and ending with my 5th grade year in the fall of 2004.

Hopefully if you were a student at Eastwood during this time period you will share some of the memories that I have of Eastwood.

Principals - Mr. Edsel Kercher and Mr. Jeff Johnson

During my 1st Grade year (2000-01), Mr. Edsel J. Kercher was the principal.

A stern but gracious man that held a high standard for the entire school.

Every morning started with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by him reading announcements over the PA system where he ended his announcements with the same closing statement every day: "let's go to work".

Mr. Edsel Kercher - Eastwood Elementary

The following year, my 2nd grade year (2001-02), would be Mr. Kercher's final year as Principal of Eastwood Elementary. He retired after being the principal of Eastwood Elementary from 1973-2002, 34 years! Up until that point Mr. Kercher had been the only principal in Eastwood Elementary's history.

The following year, my 3rd grade year (2002-03), Mr. Jeff Johnson became the principal of Eastwood Elementary.

Mr. Jeff Johnson was a young upbeat gentleman that helped to continue the positive traditions that Eastwood Elementary had in place.

Recess with Patty Walth

I remember recess being a huge deal at Eastwood.

You remember Patty right? Patty ran recess. She wasn't afraid to let you know if you were doing something wrong!

She could frequently be seen with her "signature" can of Tab pop.

Patty Walth's Signature Can of Tab

King of the Hill was strictly forbidden in the winter, even though every one still tried to climb the snow piles that were created from the plows clearing the blacktop area.

I can still faintly here Patty blowing her whistle and "yelling" at someone across the playground.

Overall Patty was the perfect mix of strict but understanding. She kept everyone safe and she managed the chaos well!

Everyone loved Patty.

Recess - Tetherball, Football, and Giant Tractor Tires


Tetherball was a huge deal at recess. There was even a tetherball rule that was created by Patty herself called "Patty Set".

The rule stated that you were not allowed to setup or "set" the ball to hit it again. Instead you were only allowed to hit it once cleanly.

If you broke this rule, everyone watching would yell: No "Patty"!

Tetherball was such a big deal that my best friend Michael asking his dad to build a tetherball pole with cement and a car tire so that we could practice playing tetherball at his house anytime we wanted!


Football was also a really big deal (atleast for the class of 2012).

"Laces or Spaces" to see who got the first pick.

If I remember correctly Brock Evenson and Zach Steckler were usually the QB captains.

Generally the first 2 picks were Sam Sandoval and AJ Moss for wide receivers.

Giant Tractor Tires

Does anyone else remember hiding in the Giant Tractor Tires in the winter months?

They were in the middle of the playground halfway into the ground so that as a little kid you could hide on the inside of each side of the tire.

You could also fit 3 people in there if someone jumped into the upper part of the tire!

Physical Education with Mr. Aaron Dodd and Mrs. Dawn Beil

There were a ton of awesome games that we played in PE.

Do you remember any of these?

  • Star Wars - A version of dodgeball where 1 'captain' had a light saber and could bring back anyone that had been knocked out.
  • Tootsie Roll Bowl - A full day of bowling, if you threw a strike you would get a tootsie roll!
  • Halloween Obstacle Course - Every year around halloween the PE teachers would set up a halloween themed obstacle course in the gym. They would also turn down the lights and play spooky halloween music over the speakers in the gym for added effect!
  • Running the Mile (or 1/2 mile) - Remember the area to the North of the playground that was forbidden during recess? We'd run the mile around that little track that wrapped around the baseball field.

Music Class with Mrs. Roanne Huebsch

A lot of kids had a hard time saying her name so you learned to pronounce her name as Mrs. "hip-shh".

She taught us to easily remember her name by tapping your hip and then putting your finger to her lips to make the "shh" sound. 🤫

Things I remember the most about Music Class:

    🎵 Christmas is coming the Goose is getting fat, pleased to put a penny in the old man's hat...
    🎵 I put the money in the gum slot, see the gum roll down (Except you'd pick a different letter each time and sing every word starting with that letter)
    Learning to play the recorder! 🎵 Hot Cross Buns anyone?

Additional Awesome Memories In No Particular Order

  • The Sock Hop
  • Reading Books in the Sunken Area of the Library
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • The PTA Carnival - Blow Up Games, Ring Toss, Karaoke
  • The Kindness Retreat
  • The Yo-yo presentation (I was convinced I was going to become a yo-yo pro)
  • The Cup Stacking presentation (Remember speed stacking in PE?)
  • The Book Fair
  • Buying Gifts at Santa's Shop for your Parents and Siblings
  • Kickball on the Last Day of School
  • Friday Fun Day (More recess, does anyone remember the green/yellow/red card system? You could lose out on Friday Fun Day if you misbehaved!)
Thank You Eastwood Elementary School!