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Dance building at Desert Vista dedicated to former teacher Pam Olsson

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Posted: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 3:35 pm

Family, friends and former co-workers were on hand at Desert Vista High School Friday as Principal Anna Battle dedicated the H-Building to dance teacher Pam Olsson.

Olsson, who passed away on Aug. 10, is credited as the first dance teacher at Desert Vista and is known for building the dance program from the ground up. The building was named the "Pam Olsson Dance Facility," and features two large dance rooms and six classrooms.

"She was compassionate, honest, fair and over-the-top dedicated," said Bianca Cary, director of the Desert Vista Junior and Senior Dance Company. "I am so thankful and proud that she brought me into this family."

Olsson retired two years, before her passing. According to the speakers last week, even when she knew retirement was just around the corner, Olsson worked hard and lobbied to get the H-Building built on the high school's campus.

"She fought tirelessly to make this building happen, even though it was the end of her career," Caryl said. "Seeing Pam's name on the outside of my classroom reminds me to be the kind of teacher she was."

To honor her memory, her friends and family members set up a tribute concert in February, called the Tribute Dance Concert, which included performances from the McClintock High School Dance Company, Corona del Sol Dance Company and Mountain Pointe Dance Company, alongside the DV Dance Company and more than 20 dance alumni.

The Pam Olsson Memorial Scholarship Fund was also established to encourage students to pursue dance in high school, college and beyond.

"She was my mentor for my first two years," DV assistant dance director Elizabeth Pease said. "She was a vibrant individual, and we admire this woman who built the dance program from the ground up."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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