Seventy-five years ago, with only thirty-six students and four faculty, Casady School was born. The school now has approximately one thousand students and hundreds of staff and faculty. Throughout the decades, Casady has gained prestige and popularity. It is now ranked among the top 20% of Oklahoma Private Schools. The extensive growth that Casady School has shown in less than a century is certainly worth celebrating.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of our school. Due to the anniversary, there are a variety of activities, plans, and events. The plans are intended to highlight and celebrate the 75 years of progress that Casady has dedicated to providing excellent education. This year’s celebration is not taken lightly, as very few high schools are able to celebrate this amount of longevity.
Betty Jane Garrett, Director of Institutional Advancement, introduced the importance of the 75th Anniversary and helped raise excitement among students and alumni for upcoming events.
What do you think is the significance of the 75th anniversary?
Ms. Garrett: Since Casady’s founding, the school’s headmasters, trustees, and faculty over the past 75 years have taken great pride in developing an institution that was modeled after the best Independent Schools in the nation to provide excellence in education. The significance of this celebration is to recognize the history of these tremendous people, the traditions they created, the strength they developed through the school’s educational programs, and the impact this has had on our school community as well as the Oklahoma City community. From educational programming to endowment growth to strategic planning and initiatives, Mr. Sheldon, Casady’s Board of Trustees, and Administration today follow the intentionality set forth by the School’s founders. Mr. Sheldon and the Board have been instrumental in the development of the 75th Anniversary celebration and planning for the future. “Fideliter et Fortiter” is the motto on the School’s crest, which is Latin for “Faithfully and Bravely.” The 75th Anniversary celebrates how we are faithful to the past while moving bravely into the future
How will the 75th anniversary be implemented into the school year? How about on a day-to-day basis?
Ms. Garrett: A number of events and activities are planned throughout the year. We had our first Decade Day celebrating the 1950s in mid-September. Max Weitzenhoffer (’57) was invited to campus to speak in Upper, Middle, and Lower Division Chapels. There was a 1950s display in Calvert Hall, and a 1950s car was parked out front. Students dressed in 1950s clothing, Decade T-shirts (available in the Cupboard), and Spirit Wear. It was quite fun to see the excitement across campus. There will be a Decade Day Celebration every month. The 1960s will be celebrated in October, 1970s in November, 1980s in December, 1990s in January, 2000s in February, and 2010s in March. Emmi Roush Kobs (’08) is our Project Coordinator for the 75th, and she and I have worked closely together on planning for the events and activities. The CPO has been an incredible help as well. Homecoming is another exciting time for the School. We also have the All School Photo on October 4 that will include all students, faculty and staff, and trustees. That’s about 1,500 people to coordinate in one place in the football stadium for the photo. In addition to these events, we have subtle reminders across campus for everyone to see daily that include the 75th light pole banners in the Bennett and Senior parking lots, along the main road through campus, and the sidewalk around the lake. All of the glass doors to the buildings have the 75th Crest decals, and there is exterior signage at all of the entrances and above the monument at the corner of Penn and Britton. The website features a section dedicated to the 75th with links to the Cupboard for Spirit Wear and anniversary swag, oral histories by alums and former faculty, and links for events that require registration. All of the School’s social media channels and approved group channels have 75th branding along with an overall communications plan for sharing about the history and events.
Are there any special events students and alumni should be excited about?
Ms. Garrett: I’ve mentioned Decade Days and Homecoming. In addition, we’ve planned three special events around the School’s actual founding date in February. Each one is for a different group of folks. On February 16, there will be alumni get-togethers in 10 cities across the country called Cyclones Coast to Coast. We just met virtually with our alum reps in each of those cities to outline the plans. We also plan to join them virtually – by time zone – at each event to welcome them and say thank you for joining in celebration. Casady has about 4,500 alums across the country and around the world, so this will be an exciting way to reach out to them. On February 17, students will have the Cyclone Festival, which will be reminiscent of the Book Fair and Carnival that was organized by the Casady Parents’ Organization for many years. Students will be able to visit during activities periods and free time, recess, and PE. It will be held in the gyms. The culminating celebration will be the Gala on February 18 at the Omni Hotel downtown. Although this is for adult guests only, several student performing arts groups will be invited to make an appearance as well as the cheerleaders and others. There is a full program to provide reflection on the School’s history, and how we are shaping the future.
What are you most excited about in regard to the 75th anniversary?
Ms. Garrett: I am excited about the entire year for our Casady Community. The School has considered and incorporated into its plans, strategies for outreach and engagement to build community within all of our constituencies including our alumni, parents of alums, students, parents, faculty and staff, grandparents, and friends of the School. There is opportunity for reaching everyone within our community and to educate the greater Oklahoma City area on the significance of Casady School in its history. Many city leaders are Casady graduates, and we see them recognized often for their contributions to the School, the city, and the state.
The 75th Anniversary of Casady School is a totem of how far we have come in a short amount of time. There will be plenty of exciting opportunities for students, K-12, alumni, and faculty to participate in. Opportunities include Decade T-shirts, a Homecoming decoration contest, guest speakers, Cyclones Coast to Coast, Decade Days, Cyclone Festival, and a Gala for Alumni. These opportunities allow a special engagement for students and alumni alike to come together and celebrate. The 75th Anniversary is a chance to honor how Casady has affected the lives of thousands of families.