Walter Parrish, age 97, still remembers when Sarah Jane Adams would come eat dinner at his home.
Adams was a teacher at Layton Elementary in the early days of the Davis School District. Parrish said she was well-liked in the community and often ate meals with different area families.
"Mother liked Sarah Jane very much," Parrish said. "And she invited her to dinner about once a week, so we got to know Sarah Jane pretty well."
Today, families may not think too often about inviting their child's teacher to dinner, but for many those favorite teachers still seem like members of the family. Teachers, administrators and staff are vital members of the community, impacting and changing lives.
Superintendent Dr. W Bryan Bowles said he kept in close contact with one of his favorite teachers for years, sending her Christmas cards and inviting her to his wedding.
"She was magnificent," he said. "Each one us has someone like that who we look back to and say, 'Now would Mrs. Wells be proud of me today if I did that.' "
It's that sense of community that led Bountiful City to turn its fall festival into a birthday gift for the Davis School District.
Mayor Joe Johnson originated the idea. Since that time, the city council, businesses and community members have rallied around the project.
The Fall Centennial Spectacular will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, at Bountiful City Park, 400 N. 200 West. A number of schools will participate by providing entertainment.
Student leadership teams from Woods Cross and Viewmont High Schools will volunteer time during the event and each school will deliver an academic or service-based gift to the Davis School District. Gifts will range from increasing reading minutes to higher test scores.
Steve James, event organizer, said the Fall Centennial Spectacular simply celebrates children. The free activity includes inflatable slides, obstacle courses, balloon art and face painting. Additionally, there will be booths set up to hand out materials on injury prevention, safety and health.
And what's a fall celebration without pumpkins? There will be a pumpkin auction of pumpkins decorated by the community. Food will also be available at discount prices.
"We want the families to know, that even in this crazy economy, there is a huge celebration where they can go, and it's for free," James said.
The event was funded by private and business donations, James said.
Board of Education member Barbara Smith said the event really is a gift to the Davis School District. She said city leaders recognize how vital schools are to their community. Many schools serve as community gathering places.
"I feel like schools are the glue for a lot of communities," Smith said.
Along with Bountiful City, the free event is sponsored by Utah Family Partnership Network, local dentist Dr. David Chamberlain, Clean Services Foundation, Parents Empowered, Davis Behavioral Health, Utah PTA, Utah Highway Safety and Communities that Care.
"Davis School District does an amazing job of providing an incredible environment through which these kids can learn security and make safe and healthy choices," James said. "And one of the reasons we've added an educational twist to this festival so it's even more than just entertainment value.
"So parents will be able to come to the festival and find resources that will help them to be better parents. Schools and teachers do such a wonderful job of creating this safe and productive environment for the kids to learn. What a great time to celebrate these children and schools."
Shauna Lund is the Communication Specialist for the Davis School District. The district was formed on July 17, 1911. For more about the Centennial Celebration, go to www.davis.k12.ut.us/dsd/centennial