Jane Monson Prestbye hugs Ron Rosenbach during the annual Silvana School reunion on Thursday in Silvana. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Jane Monson Prestbye hugs Ron Rosenbach during the annual Silvana School reunion on Thursday in Silvana. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Old friends gather to remember Silvana School days

Most met as children, and are now in their late 60s to late 80s. They all get together once a year.

SILVANA — It’s been nearly 60 years, but Jane Monson Prestbye can still imagine the old schoolhouse.

She remembers the lunchroom, the gym and a big slide on the playground. She walked nearly every day to school, where only three others were in her grade.

“You had such an identity to your community growing up like that,” she said.

She and about 40 others who attended the Silvana School gathered for their annual all-class reunion Thursday afternoon at Peace Lutheran Church on Larson Road.

Silvana is situated in north Snohomish County, between Stanwood and Arlington. The Stillaguamish River surrounds the little unincorporated town.

Most of those who gathered last week met as children, and are now in their late 60s to late 80s.

Robin Monson Sather organizes the yearly event. Usually about 30 people show up, she said.

Sather has lived in Silvana most of her life, and went to the school from 1948 to 1954.

At the reunion, she placed class photos around the room dating back to the early 1900s. Many could point out their parents in the older pictures.

The Silvana School District was established around 1885. In 1890, construction started on a schoolhouse along Pioneer Highway, a building that’s still standing.

It later became the gymnasium when a bigger school was opened in 1914. It served kids in grades one through six. Most classes had fewer than 10 students.

Irving Nysether, 86, had two other children in his class. He started school there in 1939. He recalls singing on a stage in a top floor of the building.

At 67, Prestbye guessed that she was the youngest one at the reunion. She went to the Silvana School for one year, starting first grade in 1958.

The school was closed the following year, and students were transferred to Arlington.

Prestbye, who now lives in Kent, remembers the adjustment being difficult. She started to ride the bus, along with classmates Barb Howell Hansen and Margery Lovgreen McGhan. They were two grades ahead of Prestbye.

The new school was about 7 miles from their Silvana neighborhoods. McGhan was one of the first to get on the bus. It would take about an hour to reach the school, as the bus meandered its way along the backroads.

By the end of the trip, the aisles would be filled with children who had to stand because there weren’t enough seats.

When it snowed, the bus couldn’t make it up the hill to their houses. They’d have to walk the rest of the way, McGhan said.

Linda Husby Carlson makes it to her hometown every summer for the Silvana Fair and the reunion. She now lives in Arizona.

Her parents helped start the Silvana Fair, she said.

She remembers entering the Snohomish County Dairy Princess Pageant as a girl. She had made her own dress, while the other contestants bought theirs.

“I probably had cow manure behind my ear,” she said. “Needless to say I didn’t win.”

Carlson and the others sat at big round tables Thursday, catching up and reminiscing about school days. Lunch was served on a long table, where each person could dish their own plate.

Guests started to clear out after a couple of hours, with hopes of seeing one another next year.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Fake gun sends Cascade High School into lockdown

Police detained a suspect with a fake weapon around 12:30 p.m. The school remained in lockdown past 1 p.m.

Rose Freeman (center) and Anastasia Allison of The Musical Mountaineers play atop Sauk Mountain near Concrete in October 2017. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Musical Mountaineers’ sunset serenade to launch Adopt a Stream campaign

The nonprofit aims to transform into an “accessible model of sustainability,” with solar panels, electric vehicles and more.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

A Marysville firefighter sprays water on a smoking rail car at the intersection of 116th Street NE and State Avenue around 8 a.m. Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
Rail car catches fire, blocks traffic in Marysville

Around 7:20 a.m. Thursday, firefighters responded to reports of smoke coming from a rail car near 172th Street NE, officials said.

Firefighters transported two people to hospitals while extinguishing an apartment fire near Lake Ballinger in Edmonds Wednesday.
2 injured in Edmonds apartment fire

At least nine people were displaced by the fire on 236th Street SW, officials said. Nearly 50 firefighters responded.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff place a radio collar on a Grizzly Bear in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife / Wayne Kasworm)
For grizzly bears coming to Cascades, radio collars will keep close tabs

Tracking an apex predator is tricky. GPS collars play a central role in a controversial plan to repopulate grizzlies in Washington’s wilderness.

Maplewood Parent Cooperative School seventh and eighth grade students listen to Mason Rolph of Olympia Community Solar speak about different solar projects during a science class for the student's Sustainable Schools engineering units on Friday, June 7, 2024 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How can Edmonds make new schools more sustainable? Students have ideas

In a town hall Friday, students from Maplewood Parent Co-op will make pitches for the soon-to-be rebuilt College Place schools.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.