Carroll Elementary School is one of our newer schools in the Elk Grove Unified School District (2006) and is in the East Franklin area. The name comes from the original school of 1877, which was named for the Carroll family. The original school burned, but a new school was built. The Carroll District was annexed to the Elk Grove District in 1947.  Carroll School was torn down in 1970.

Today, we have a wonderful history story from Carroll School! What is surprising is that the students researching history are only in the third grade!

Thanks to teacher Jeff Stults, principal Jack Ferreira, vice principal Michelle Fennel, secretary Vickie Garcia, and parent Cindy Shi, I was able to visit the classroom at the school to view the history projects created by the students. Each project focused on an historical landmark, several of which are here in Elk Grove. Louis Silveira went with me and took great photographs for the Elk Grove Historical Society.

The star of the show was Justin Shi who chose the landmark on Alexander Hamilton Willard that is in our Franklin Cemetery. Thanks to Justin, the students learned a lot about the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803 and Willard who was the blacksmith.

I asked Mr. Stults to tell us about the history project and this is what he said:  “Our class got started with learning about local history very gradually. We read biographies about famous Americans such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, John Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. We spoke about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. That led us to talk about how one of the members of that famous expedition is buried about a mile away from our school at the historic Franklin Cemetery. From there we discussed other historic sites in the region/state. Students were able to stay local for their California Landmark Project (Sloughhouse Inn, Murphy’s Ranch), or some traveled as far as Los Angeles.

“I’m always surprised by how interested young students are in history. I tell them that these are the best stories about well-known and not so well known people who were just like them who lived thousands of years ago to just a few decades ago.

“I have my degree in history from UC Davis. This is my 20th year teaching. I started teaching first grade at Sierra Enterprise Elementary, then moved on to fourth grade. This is my first year teaching third. I moved to Carroll Elementary when the school opened in 2006.”

It truly takes a brilliant teacher to take on such an amazing challenge with young students, and when the teacher involves parents in a school project, the results can be outstanding!

Cindy Shi is the parent volunteer at the school who contacted me about the history projects. I asked her to tell us about her son Justin whose teacher is Mr. Stults and her family. This is what she said:

“My husband, Andrew, lived in Sacramento for most of his life. I came here from the Bay Area. We decided Elk Grove would be perfect to move to and to raise a family.  We purchased our house in 2010. We have three children - Justin (9), Philip (6) and Melanie (4).

“My parents were born in China, and my dad came to the U.S.  (San Francisco) when he was 10 years old.  My mom didn’t come until she was older.  I believe it was when she was in high school.   They both came to seek a better life.

“My husband and his family are from Indonesia. He and his siblings were born in Indonesia and did not come to the U.S. until later in age.  They picked Sacramento because they had family there. Family is very important for all of us.”

Justin decided to focus on Alexander Hamilton Willard for his project because he saw the plaque at the Franklin Cemetery.  Cindy tells us more: “When Justin’s class was assigned to research a California historical landmark, he naturally picked the gravesite at Franklin Cemetery. Many of his fellow classmates picked landmarks in the Sacramento County area.

“I really enjoy volunteering at the school.  The teachers and staff are awesome.  I have been volunteering since Justin started school four years ago.  With my second son in kindergarten, I volunteer for both classes (kindergarten and third grade), and I help other teachers when asked.  I love being able to help the teachers.  They do so much for our kids. It is my way of giving back to the community. I also enjoy baking, so when I get the chance, I drop off baked goods at the front office or leave other treats in the staff lounge. It is just my way of saying thanks and letting them know I appreciate what they do.”

Cindy purchased copies of the History Happened Here books, and she tells us that Justin was the talk of the class when he brought the books to school.

I thank Cindy and Jeff and the students for all that they do for history at Carroll Elementary School!

NOTE: Read about the Albiani and Zehnder families in the October and December issues of the ARDENT magazine.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!


History Happened Here, Book 1 – River, Oaks, Gold

History Happened Here, Book 2 – Fields, Farms, Schools

We the People, a Story of Internment in America

All book proceeds go for student scholarships, and I thank the many purchasers who have made possible the 75 scholarships with each one $1,000  – make your check for books payable to Laguna Publishers and send to me at 9227 Lamprey Drive, Elk Grove, CA 95624.  Books are $20 apiece and California sales tax is included. Add $3 for shipping of one or two books; $5 for 3-6 books. Call me at (916) 685-0606 or email me at elizabethpink@gmail.com.    And, you can always purchase books at meetings of the EGUSD Board of Education.