When Mark Twain Elementary School celebrates its 100th birthday on Sunday, Laurel Rosenthal, a teacher at the school for 21 years, and principal for 30 years, will be the face of that celebration.

When Mark Twain Elementary School celebrates its 100th birthday on Sunday, Laurel Rosenthal, a teacher at the school for 21 years, and principal for 30 years, will be the face of that celebration.
But Rosenthal said the ceremony, which will start at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17, is all about the school, students and staff.
“I love being here and it's been a joy all these years for me to share with generations of kids, but really this isn't about me, it's about the school,” Rosenthal said. “I'm privileged to be a part of this, but it's not about me, and I just hope that all of us together can help make this a better world.”
The school will host a 30-minute ceremony featuring talks by distinguished guests and performances by students, then people will be allowed to tour the school and see how it has changed over 100 years.
Rosenthal said she's hoping to have as many former Carthage school superintendents and at least one of the two living former Mark Twain principals at the event.
She said she also hopes to have artists Lowell Davis, who painted a portrait of the school for it's 75th birthday, Andy Thomas, who painted the 90th birthday portrait and Bridgett Triplett, who painted the portrait for this anniversary.
Lowell Davis also created a special sculpture of stone and metal that sits at the front gate of the school.
Davis was a student at Mark Twain before Rosenthal became a teacher there, and says it was a teacher at the school, Nell Esterle, who inspired him to pursue a career in art and even paid for art lessons for him for a few years.
“I came from a country school,” Davis said. “I was in the fifth grade and I went to Mark Twain when we moved to Carthage. That painting I did for the 75th birthday, that's me me standing outside the school with a bicycle and homemade clothes and a $5 bicycle and I'm looking at the school. It was just so big compared to the country schools I was used to going to.”
Rosenthal became the first kindergarten teacher at Mark Twain when she went to work at the school in 1967. The school housed first grade through eighth grade up until then, when all the elementary schools in the district became kindergarten-through-sixth grade schools.
Fifth and sixth grade classes were moved to a new middle school in the reorganization that accompanied the completion of the high school in 2008 and plans are for the fourth grade to be paired with the fifth grade at the new Carthage Intermediate Center in 2019 once the former Middle School is renovated.
Rosenthal said Mark Twain is the only school she's worked in and she's proud of the community support the school and district have received over the years.
Rosenthal said patriotism, respect for themselves and others, and an excitement to learn are the cornerstones of education at Mark Twain school.
“I want them to realize how important education is in their lives and and I want them to realize how important this school is to the community,” Rosenthal said. “We're really big, as you look around the school, on patriotism and responsibility and respect. Respect is something really big, we learn from kindergarten on to respect ourselves, to respect each other, to respect our school and also to respect our community.”
Rosenthal's late husband attended classes at Mark Twain and her children went through the school.
“I had my youngest child in my first class,” Rosenthal said. “I tell a story, I had a little boy come up to me and that year and say, Mrs. Rosenthal that boy isn't very smart. He was pointing at my Ryan, and I asked the boy, why do you think that? The child said, he thinks you're his mother. I said, Honey, I am his mother.
“I've had tragedies throughout the school years where children have passed away and that's been very hard on my heart. I had a teacher, Kathy Knell, who passed away, who was a dear friend and a wonderful teacher, and that was very hard for the whole school and me. But I've had wonderful support and I've just been very blessed.”