The Marvista Class of 1972 pose for their class photo. Our own Times/News advertising representative, Dona Ozier, is the fourth one on the right in the second row.

Normandy Park's Marvista pranksters confess-40 years later

At the Marvista Elementary reunion of the 1970s classes, one former student took the opportunity to ask his sixth grade teacher, Felton Picou, a question that has apparently troubled him for nearly forty years.

"Why did you send me to the office? What did I say?"

Unfortunately, Picou had no recollection of the incident, describing his students as "good kids."Picou taught at the Normandy Park school for 25 years.

Currently living in Federal Way, he seldom sees any of his old pupils. Then Alan Peterson knocked on his door.

Peterson, a Eugene television station meteorologist, recalled seeing Picou's name and address listed and asking his classmates, "Do you guys think this is the same one?"

They did, and Peterson paid Picou a visit, which inspired him to plan an event to allow other Marvista alums to reconnect with their instructors. His classmates were receptive.

Ultimately, at least seven teachers showed up at the event. Approximately 100 former students, several of whom had traveled from other states to attend, joined them. One had come from Tunisia.

Shirley Peace, who taught at Marvista for about ten years, remembered when her kindergarten classes were integrated into the elementary school.

Rick Valentine, "a really good principal," administered the school at the time. The kindergarteners caught his interest, and he often stopped by Peace's classroom to observe the class in action. Once, he looked on in disbelief as Peace helped her students form a line.

The difficulty of imposing order on the young children reminded him of trying to "herd mercury."

Teachers and students alike gathered for dinner at the Normandy Park Cove. Once the noshing slowed, Peterson related the story of the day Picou left the classroom and one student held the door shut from the inside.

Once caught, Peterson recalled, offenders always worried "this time he's lowering the boom," but "he never lowered the boom. You just thought you got lucky one more time."

As Peterson's classmates stepped up to the microphone, it became clear why some of them had feared such a boom lowering. A well-known class prankster discussed the time when he and his friend "were blowing up random mailboxes on the way to school." He had also tied one of his compatriots, whose name he could not remember, to a tree during recess.

The next student to speak clarified matters, informing attendees that the prankster had, in fact, tied him to a tree.

Youthful high jinks aside, students described meaningful relationships with teachers. "My experience at Marvista," the prankster said, "made me who I am today."

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