The Little School That Could

The Village of Heritage, today

The Google map

In 1988, a little section of Fontana, California, was being shaped and molded from the earth into a unique section of tract housing. This section of tract housing was dubbed “Village of Heritage” and was reminiscent of gated communities… except, without the actual gates. It was strictly a residential area– no commercial constructs of any kind penetrated the concrete walls, though they would pop up just outside.

There was, of course, one little problem… With all these new houses being built, and all these families expected to occupy them, there was the question of where the little ones would go to school. At the time, the de facto campus was Summit Elementary (which would transform into Summit Intermediate), and it was already being strained by current population growths. When my family moved here in early 1988, my brother was assimilated into Summit’s 1st grade class. And later in the year, the solution to Summit’s growing pains had a name and location:

West Heritage Elementary School.

West Heritage Elementary

The front gate and the parking "loop"

Of course, such a school would need teachers and staff to populate it. As is standard practice for new schools, West Heritage took a nibble out of Summit’s faculty complement (including my brother’s 1st grade teacher, who would be respecced into an AM Kindergarten teacher) and presumably either chewed on other faculties or hired fresh. And in September of 1988, West Heritage opened its doors to a smattering of newbies, myself among them in its first-ever kindergarten class (the “Original Eagles” as we would be called in 1994).

This blog is dedicated to my bizarre career as a former student of West Heritage Elementary, which for some reason Google and many in my Facebook network have forgotten exists (and likely for the better). I am regrettably cursed with a photographic memory– try as I may to forget that I went to such a school that dared to implement ridiculous things as Silent Lunch, was so shameless with Sibling Recursion, or hall moderators (or “proctors,” a term I never liked as it was easily mixed up with “proctologist”) who had legally-unwarranted authority to search and publicly name-and-shame kids with taboo food items in their lunches… well, you just don’t forget these things.

Some parameters and warnings: Yes, I promise this school really did (and continues to) exist. No, it’s pretty much impossible to locate any of my teachers to corroborate/refute any of my claims. Which leads me to my next warning: yes, I do name names, but I’m not out to torpedo anyone’s career because it seems many of these teachers had EXTREMELY common surnames, and on the whole the teachers were otherwise decent folk with some pretty eccentric practices. The most I was able to gather from Google was that two of my teachers wandered over to other elementary schools, and one of the third grade teachers (one of the only two men at the time) got promoted to principal and later, superintendent. If there is anyone deserving of a bit of hand-slapping, it would be the hall moderators with an overbearing sense of authority. You know who they are. The ones who shouted us down and tried to impose Silent Lunch, unaware that it is in a child’s nature to be loud at lunch, and that whoever did the school floorplans is a dumbface because you do NOT have cafeteria doors open outwards in the direct line of sight of classroom doors and expect there to not be a cacophony coming out of said cafeteria during lunch.


I invite my fellow alumnae of Weird Heritage (especially those of Class of ’02 and our most-likely siblings in the wingspan years of ’00 and 04) to share your memories and experiences, no matter how mundane or out-there they may be. Believe me, anything will likely help to corroborate the weird tales you’ll find in this-here blog. EXTREME bonus points if you can scan in yearbooks or upload videos from school plays, field trips or even everyday classroom activity. We all intersect at some point, don’t we?

And finally, to those who look fondly upon their days at this school and have come here to have your happy memories stomped upon by this person’s ramblings, I apologize. Though, if you came here, you surely must have been curious about the how-and-why of something nagging in your memories…?

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