Situated 17 miles north of Pasco proper in the middle of Block 15, a geographic designation for farm land, Markham Elementary is a little island of a school amid a sea of agricultural land, apple ochards and asaragus fields. Before the completion of Markham, families from Blocks 15, 16 and 17 sent their elementary-aged students to a school in the Eltopia District. This was at a time when Franklin County housed many different school districts. At one point, the county had 36. Over time those districts were consolidated and the Eltopia District merged with Pasco School District in 1961 at the behest of voters in Block 15.
The school is named after American poet Charles Edwin Anson Markham. Markham, not just a poet, served also as a teacher, principal and superintendent in California schools in the late 19th century.
Principal Wendy Lechelt-Polster says, “Markham has a great history of parent involvement and action.” Recently, Markham’s Parents and Leaders for Students (PALS) raised over $40,000 in one school year to enhance the school’s outdoor playing areas.
Lechelt-Polster also says that Markham has some wonderful school traditions. Each spring, fourth grade students participate in an Etiquette Lunch where they learn table manners, correct place settings, and then sit down to a seven-course meal in the cafeteria, which is transformed by parents to resemble a fine restaurant.
The school’s staff work hard to ensure that their students can confidently echo Edwin Markham’s sentiment from The Look Ahead: “I laugh and lift hand to the years ahead. Come on, I am ready for you!”