Jennifer Nash meant no disrespect to Wilmette’s other renowned schools, but for her, nothing compares to McKenzie Elementary.
“It is the heart of Wilmette,” she said. “It is a special, special, special place, and not just for the kids, but for the parents too.”
Offering evidence to Nash’s claim were the 50 some former McKenzie parents and students who returned to the school grounds for an impromptu reunion on Friday, May 27 — about 13 years after they were first introduced.
The meetup was the brainchild of Mike and Rebecca Lieber, who thought it would be fun to gather the pending high school graduates and their parents at the place where their local education began.
The Liebers posted an invite in the Facebook group Parents of New Trier and Mike Lieber was nervous about how many people were going to show up to a Wilmette grammar school about eight years removed from direct association with it.
But about 20 minutes into the event the blacktop was bustling with smiles, hugs and chatter from dozens of neighbors.
District 39 School Board member Frank Panzica — with his son, Adam — was one of the parents who dropped in.
“In kindergarten through fourth grade, you build friendships that last through high school,” Panzica said. “Half of my son’s friends are from McKenzie.
“It’s bittersweet. Adam is our only child, but it is nice to see faces I haven’t seen in years.”
Longtime McKenzie teacher Kris Uhler also came out to mingle with her former students and chat with their parents.
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