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History

History

Here is the early history of Gomes School excerpted from a book called Reflections, the Educational Heritage of Fremont. It was compiled and edited by Philip Holmes (Former Principal of Gomes School) and Dolores Rose.

On land once roamed by wooly mammoths and giant ground sloths and later occupied by Coastanoan Indian families, the school districts first classrooms without walls appeared. A need for this neighborhood school developed when the Way Out West and the Mission Valley housing projects were constructed.

When school started on September 10, 1969, the students and teachers were ready, but the buildings on Lemos Lane were not. Because the innovative pod designs took longer than expected to complete, the monumental task of transporting 583 students to the old Irvington School for six months was created.

As the opening at the new location approached, many students and teachers worked evenings and weekends preparing for the move into open space.

On February 16, 1970, the long-awaited day arrived. Excitement filled the air as students arrived at Irvington with shopping bags, ready to move their books and belongings. At the new site parents, school officials, and newspaper reporters eagerly awaited the busloads of students. By mid morning students and teachers had moved in and they spent the rest of the day trying to figure out how to fit their desks into these unique six-sided rooms.

The $1.1 million school is composed of six separate pods. One central building houses the administrative offices and the library. Another contains a multi-use room and a kitchen. Four others provide space for 21 carpeted classrooms, sink areas, and teachers workrooms. There are no walls between teaching stations so instructional areas are created with furniture.

Dedication ceremonies were held March 10, 1970. John Gomes, for whom the school was named, was the honored guest. He is a descendant of a local pioneer family that farmed the fields nearby. For many years he was a member of the Irvington School Board and a director for the Alameda County Water District. The main speaker at the dedication was Mayor Gene Rhodes. In attendance were Mary Rodrigues, president of the school board; Dr. William Bolt, superintendent of the Fremont Unified School District; Philip Brazil, assistant superintendent of the Mission Attendance Area; Corwin Booth, architect of the school; and Harold Erickson, school principal.

Even before the students moved to their new facilities, a mascot, the gopher, and colors, green and white, were selected by members of the Student Council, the school principal, and Beverly Bufkin, advisor. The Councils first major project was to purchase curtains and lighting for the stage in the multi-use room. During the schools bicentennial commemoration, this room received its official title, Gomes Hall, and historical banners were designed and made by teachers and students to hang on its walls. The Story of Our Country as depicted by the banners, was presented at a special puppet day assembly on May 10, 1976.

Back to School Night, a winter holiday program, open house, and gopher day have become annual events at the school. The PTA has regularly sponsored a country store in the fall and a spaghetti dinner in the spring.

Parents have been an outstanding resource for the school. They have contributed many hours of valuable time to the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program which started in 1975; in 1978 this program became the School Improvement Program (SIP).

Some events have not been happy ones. A major act of vandalism occurred in the summer of 1977 and a fire in the summer of 1979 damaged portions of the office-administrative building. Many school records and some audiovisual equipment were destroyed.

When Harold Erickson became director of elementary instruction in 1977, Philip Holmes was named principal of Gomes School.

Gomes School has a Wikipedia entry which you can view here.

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