DuVall Elementary planning for 100th anniversary celebration in May

Recent exterior of DuVall Elementary's front door

DuVall Elementary School is inviting all current and former students, families and staff to return to visit the school on May 6, 2022 as the building celebrates its 100th anniversary.

To prepare, the school is collecting photos, memories and memorabilia to help display DuVall’s history and to share at the anniversary celebration. The DuVall PTA is also fundraising to help offset the cost of the anniversary event.

Those with photos or items to share can drop them at the school or scan and submit photos to the Principal Mary Timpf at timpfm@dearbornschools.org. Photos dropped at the school will be scanned and returned to the original owner.

Donations can be mailed to the DuVall PTA, care of DuVall School, 22561 Beech Dearborn, Michigan 48124.  Checks should have a note that the donation is for the celebration.  Money can also be sent via Venmo @duvallpta with a description “100 Year Celebration Donation”

Details for the May 6 event are still being finalized, Principal Timpf said.

Currently, the plan is to have the building and all the classrooms open in the evening for people to wander through and visit. Each of the 10 classrooms is researching one decade from the school’s history and hopes to display that information during the celebration.  Ford cars from across the 100 years will also be displayed. Other plans, like food trucks and musical performances, are also being considered.

Those on social media can visit the Facebook page the PTA created for the event.

 School history

The current DuVall Elementary School was originally known as Southwestern School. 

As Ford Motor Company was growing in the 1910s to 1920s, more of its employees began to move to Dearborn with their families.

Henry Ford, himself encouraged this. From 1919 to 1920, Ford and his team built 250 homes near downtown Dearborn to provide housing for workers at a nearby Ford tractor plant.  

Now known as the Ford Historic Homes District, the new neighborhood and the new Dearborn families who moved into it created a need for a new school. So in 1921, Southwestern School opened.

In 1928, Southwestern School had 320 students in grades kindergarten to six. When the Edison Junior High opened in 1931, Southwestern went down to grades kindergarten to four. At that time, there were no hot lunches, gymnasium, or library at the school.

Leo DuVall was Southwestern School’s first principal, but he also took on many other roles in the district over the years. During the Depression, DuVall was the child accountant responsible for keeping track of where each child was located in the schools. He also oversaw the transportation department and worked as the district’s purchasing agent, securing supplies for all the district schools.

After 31 years as principal of Southwestern School, Leo DuVall retired in 1959.

A year before his retirement, the PTA asked the Board of Education to rename Southwestern School after DuVall, giving the school the name it still has today.