In the early 1970’s, we welcomed the METCO program to OPR. In 1987, we housed the town’s first public preschool program. For much of the school’s first few years, we were considered a ‘walking school’ as few students were bused. Many even walked home for lunch! In 1990, after Mr. Varney’s retirement, we renamed the small front playground “Varney Park” in his honor. In 1990, we also welcomed the fourth grade back from the middle school. At the outset of that year, Mr. Stephen Fortin was introduced as OPR’s second principal. The student population continued to grow to just under 300 students.
In December 1992, we broke ground for construction of twelve new classrooms, a gymnasium, a media center and a kitchen. Work progressed quickly during the spring and summer so that we welcomed almost 500 students on Sept. 8, 1993. Students who were redistricted from the Boyden and Fisher Schools, new students from other systems, and our young Kindergartners were welcomed by our ‘veteran’ students and quickly became comfortable in the school.
As the population of OPR quickly grew to over 600 in 1996-97, the annual Town Meeting approved construction of three portable-modular classrooms that eased overcrowding. Three fourth grade classrooms were housed in this addition, nestled in the rear of the building.
In the fall of 1999, we welcomed fifth graders as the oldest members of our student body. This was done to ease the growing enrollments in our middle schools. At that same time, the Elm Street School was opened as a Pre-K-Kindergarten complex, thus transferring our Kindergartners to Elm Street Kindergartens returned to us when Elm Street became a K-Grade 5 schools and an addition was added to Boyden.
For the 2013-2014 school year, we had just under 480 students in twenty-one classes. Last year, we welcomed the VIP Program (Varied Instruction Program). We believe that the 6 students in the program have greatly enhanced our student body
This year, we expect close to 480 student also who will be housed in 22 classrooms. Currently, plans are on the way to celebrate OPR’s 50th birthday next spring! We hope to invite back many alumni to our school-both students and staff alike. We will be opening a time capsule which was created in 1990 for OPR’s 25th birthday. We will also be creating a time capsule to be open 25 years from now—in the year 2040!
During these 50 years which OPR has been open, the lives of thousands of Walpole students have been molded and shaped here. The positive memories of the past now serve as foundations for future endeavors. We look forward to the upcoming years as ones of growth and change as help thousands of students get started in their journey of education.