Joyful jazz music filled the Alley just after noon on Thursday, Nov. 4, as Middle and Upper Schoolers gathered along the historied hub of 21st Street Campus. Head of School Bob Riddle then rounded the corner in a top hat and tails, the grand marshal of a parade of student dancers and musicians, administrators and two very special guests—Crossroads’ co-founders, Paul Cummins and Rhoda Makoff. It was the first of two birthday parties for students to commemorate Crossroads’ 50th anniversary.
After Bob introduced Paul and Rhoda, who were transported down the Alley on a float with a giant birthday cake, the two shared stories from the School’s founding and early days. They reminisced about meeting each other at a dinner party; setting up the first campus on Pico Boulevard; and establishing a new kind of school that valued both academics and the arts.
“We wanted to create a place where students were excited to come every day,” recalled Paul to the students. “Just like your experience today.”
Rhoda, standing beside Crossroads’ mascot, then told the story of how the roadrunner was chosen as the symbolic figure of Crossroads’ sports teams. At first, the School’s students proposed a rat, but Rhoda, unsatisfied with the selection, sent them back to the drawing board. Their second choice was the roadrunner, and it stuck.
This anecdote led Bob to admit that the current costume for the School’s mascot was, in fact, a woodpecker! In honor of Crossroads’ 50th anniversary, a new roadrunner mascot, “Roadie,” made its debut at the parade, sending the old woodpecker off to retirement.
“I thought it was cool to see our founders talk a little bit about what their idea was starting the School, their founding ideals and how they still carry on today,” says ninth grader and soccer player Isabella DiLeo. “And the new roadrunner is a major improvement. A lot scarier.”
The festivities continued on Norton Campus the following day. During Friday Gathering, Paul and Rhoda joined third graders, including Paul’s grandson Dax Polk, in the Community Room to answer students’ questions, while the rest of the Elementary School community watched a livestream of the interview. The questions ranged from “Why did you name the school Crossroads?” (The name was inspired by Paul’s love of poetry by Robert Frost, particularly the poem “The Road Not Taken”); to “Why are teachers called by their first names?” (“It’s just a little bit friendlier,” explained Paul); to “What does it feel like to be the founder of Crossroads?” (“A little bit weird,” reflected Rhoda).
After lunch, Elementary Schoolers enjoyed a surprise birthday celebration all their own, featuring an illusionist show, an appearance from Roadie and a dance party with DJ Goldnbrown. Like any good birthday party, both days ended with the distribution of party favors of Crossroads 50th anniversary swag, sweets and more!
Stay tuned for more information about upcoming anniversary celebrations.