When Dennis G. Earl Elementary School was originally built in 1997, a simple marquee supported by a backboard representing textbooks was placed next to the school’s parking lot to alert students, parents and the community of news relating to the elementary site.
Nearly two decades later, the school finally decided that it was time to replace its previous, old-fashioned sign to something a little more efficient: an electronic marquee.
“The original sign was purchased 17 years ago, so it was definitely weathered looking,” said Principal Laura Fong.
According to Fong, the new sign cost $14,000 for purchase and installation. This significant cost was covered by the school’s Parent Teacher Association, which over the past few years has been tirelessly raising money through various events, including a school carnival and cookie dough sales.
“PTA has been working really hard to raise money and money raised by them goes back to the school to pay for things we need like this marquee sign,” said Fong. “These guys have been working really hard.”
Students, staff and PTA members gathered near the covered sign in anticipation on Tuesday morning for its official unveiling.
Although Earl has passed away, he was still represented in spirit during the reveal by family, including wife Lawana Earl, daughter Jennifer Earl-Law, son Michael Earl and his wife Amy Earl, and grandson Carter Earl.
Dennis Earl’s other son, David Earl, along with David Earl’s wife Beth Earl and daughter Evie Earl, were unable to attend the event.
“This sign will be an excellent way to communicate between the school, parents and teachers,” said Lawana Earl. “It definitely is a point of pride.”
According to PTA President James Rocha, the idea of installing the electronic marquee existed before his administration.
“It was the previous PTA Board’s dream to upgrade the marquee and the school has wanted this for a while,” said Rocha. “So with funds raised this year and previous years we were able to make that dream come true.”
Among other benefits, including greater visibility and the ability to display multiple messages, Rocha hopes that the new electronic marquee will improve communication throughout the school’s community and enhance the campus.
“We want to make the appearance of the school better in order to give back to the kids,” said Rocha. “That’s what PTA is all about.”