St. Aidan's Day School in Fort Hunt celebrated its 50th birthday with a party on Sunday, April 30, in Fort Hunt. From left are Emilie Yoder, who attended St. Aidan's Day School and is now a day school parent, with her niece Gabriela Espinola, 10; sister Amanda Espinola; nephew Javier Espinola, 15; and niece Giuliana Espinola, 7. Amanda Espinola attended the day school, sent all four of her children to the school, and works as an assistant teacher.
In 1989, Viju Dilley and Jessica Watson, just two years old, became instant friends as St. Aidan’s Day School classmates. Nearly 30 years later, they remain best friends, and on Sunday, they joined hundreds of other past and current St. Aidan’s students, teachers, directors, and families to celebrate the Fort Hunt pre school's 50th birthday.
Dilley is not only an alumna of the school but is now a St. Aidan’s parent; her son Harrison, 2, now enjoys the same two-day program she did years ago. With fond memories of the school’s emphasis on joyful play, caring teachers, and St. Aidan’s playground sprawled amidst a wooded setting, she couldn’t imagine her son anywhere else.
The family roots at St. Aidan’s run as deep as those of the trees shading the outdoor play area. All but one of the 11 classes at the school includes at least one student whose parent attended St. Aidan’s or at least one teacher who sent her own children to the school.
Amanda Cagigas Espinola boasts three connections to St. Aidan’s: along with her two siblings, she attended the school as a child, sent her own four children to St. Aidan’s, and currently works as an assistant teacher. Espinola, her four children, and her sister Emilie Yoder (also a St. Aidan’s alumna) joined the family’s current St. Aidan’s pupil Chriss Yoder for Sunday’s celebration.
Because no birthday party would be complete without cake, St. Aidan’s director (and mother of two St. Aidan’s alumni) Suzanne Odom and three past directors — Kathy Hoke, Kathy Mott, and Judy Smith — cut into a ceremonial 50th birthday cake to kick off the festivities.