Cardiff School rededicates fields in honor of beloved principals

The Berkich Playfields at Cardiff School.
(Karen Billing)

On Aug. 5 , the Cardiff School District Board formally approved the rededication of the Cardiff School’s two student play areas to honor two iconic Cardiff School principals, both of whom led the school for over 20 years.

The wall ball court area was christened “Julie Parker Wall Ball Courts” and the renovated playfields as the “George Berkich Playfields.”

Both of the play areas are located on the newly renovated outdoor education and playfield spaces of the campus, which have been part of the Cardiff School site and used by students for over 100 years, according to a news release.

The six new wall ball courts are rainbow-colored with the blue wall marked with “The Cardiff Way”, just like the old campus: “Act responsibly, be honest, care for others, show respect.”

“After 26 years of leadership, Principal Julie Parker has retired and all of us in the Cardiff School District will greatly miss her,” said Siena Randall, school board president in the news release. “Julie was an integral part of the completion of the upgrades to Cardiff School. In addition, she loves the game of wall ball and has helped cultivate the sport as an integral part of the school culture. It is more than fitting for the wall ball courts to bear her name.”

The Julie Parker Wall Ball Courts are seen on the hardtop.
(Karen Billing)

The playfields, full of memories of Picnic Days past, were dedicated to Berkich. He served as principal for 27 years and his wife Marjorie taught kindergarten at the school. The district-owned playfields were previously named Berkich Park in his honor.

Berkich, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 90, lived in Oregon after his retirement but frequently came back to visit and continued to support the school.

The school’s ocean-view playfields were restructured to create one contiguous, large, grassy field instead of the previous two separate fields. Colorful new playground equipment was also added.

The school’s hardcourt and playfields are available to the community during after-school hours for outdoor recreation.

The final improvements left to be completed on the Cardiff campus are the new multipurpose room, the student drop-off/parking area and northernmost turf area.

Per the court’s ruling in the second Save the Park and Build the School lawsuit dismissed in November 2020, the district cannot complete construction of project features within the current grant boundary until receiving approval from the National Park Service.

According to a statement, the district continues to work with the state and federal authorities to resolve the final issues associated with the only elements of the project remaining to be completed: “The district looks forward to resolving these issues in the near future.”

New signage reflecting the new names of the outdoor recreation and playfield improvements will be installed soon.