Perry Center celebrates 100 years of education in Grand Blanc

GRAND BLANC, MI — Grand Blanc celebrated 100 years of education at the Perry Center with community members, students and alumni.

On Saturday, May 14, the centennial event was celebrated by the official ribbon cutting of the Perry Centennial Pavilion, food trucks, student guided tours of the building and the chance to speak with the oldest living Grand Blanc graduate Mary Evatt Gainor.

“Today we are celebrating the centennial anniversary of our Perry Center,” said Grand Blanc Schools Superintendent Trevor Alward. ” It was opened January 9, 1922, but we wanted to wait for warmer weather to celebrate with our community. It is something that all of our district is celebrating because we have a long standing tradition of excellence. We are excited to honor that history and propel into the future.”

At the event, community members were welcome to enter classrooms where pre-recorded alumni interviews were playing on repeat to allow new students to hear the history of their school.

At 103 years old, Gainor came to Perry and met with students and other alumni to share her personal experiences at Perry.

Gainor not only graduated from Grand Blanc schools, but she also taught English to middle school students at Grand Blanc for the majority of her career.

“It’s wonderful to be back and visit and see that the buildings are still standing. How important education is and important for each generation to take the hand of the previous generation and make certain traditions and attitudes continue for centuries,” Gainor said.

After taking a student-led tour around the building, attendees participated in outdoor games, activities and the chance to walk around and see the Perry Centennial Pavilion.

The 20-square-foot pavilion with picnic tables, benches and garden beds with a concrete foundation located right outside the Perry Center cost $50,000 to construct. The pavilion will be used in future years as an outdoor classroom.

Nearly 100 Grand Blanc high school students contributed to the newest piece of Grand Blanc Community Schools history.

The Perry Center received a historical marker in 2013 through the Michigan Historical Commission. The building currently houses the Perry Innovation Center with grades 2-8, Children’s Garden, Curriculum Department and Technology Services Department.

“As long as there are children, the school is the heart of the community’s activities,” Gainor said.

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