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70 years of Valentine’s Day in schools: A brief photo history of kindness, joy & smiles in the classroom

Meghan Gallagher | February 14, 2024

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A teacher in the 1950s reading a Valentine’s Day card (Armstrong Roberts/Getty Images)

Roses are red, violets are blue, 

Everything is covered in glitter and glue,

It’s Valentine’s Day in school. 

Yes, it’s time to stock up on those cupid stickers and candy hearts; it’s officially Valentine’s Day at schools across the country. 

In commemoration, we’re diving into the archives and looking back across 70 years of teachers and students sweetening the day with candies, flowers and cut-out cards. As parents sprint to double-check class lists and stock up on shareable treats, these iconic images are magical and more than a little nostalgic. We hope they brighten your day as much as they did for us. 

Spanning generations, Valentine’s Day has long been an opportunity for communities to show appreciation for one another through expressions of love, friendship and acts of kindness. From homemade cards made out of construction paper to school chorus telegrams and roses for the teacher, here are some reminders of just how lovely the holiday can be:

Feb. 13 1988: Jennifer Wolfe, 7, and Fatima Simms, 8, at Smith Elementary School pose with Vaeltines to send to children in Kenya. (The Denver Post/Getty Images)
Second graders at Foster Elementary school at Foster Elementary in Arvada, Colorado, in 1973. (Getty Images)
Feb. 1 1976: Students at Merrill Junior High in Denver, Colorado, finish cutting hearts. (Denver Post/Getty Images)
Jasie Sharp, 10, ponders her Valentine’s Day cards at party at JuanaMaria Elementary in Los Angeles in 1997. (Getty Images)
Carlos Mack delivers roses to a teacher at Telfair Ave School in Pacoima as a large heart is drawn in the sky’s above the Valley on this Valentines day in 1997. (Getty Images)
Several children from Stonewall Middle School in Manassas delivered about 100 valentines to patients at the VA Medical Center in 1999 (Getty Images)
Second grader Vanessa Fede gets a hug from her teacher, Karla Garvin, at the Miller Elementary School after presenting her with a rose during a class Valentine’s Day party in 1998. (Getty Images)
Holly Clarke, Mary Aarfet, Maegan Holman, Lori Nunnally, students in the Mayfair High School Vocal Program, head to a classroom to sing Valentine greeting to other students in Bellflower, California, on Feb. 14, 2007. The singers are raising money for a trip to Nashville, Tennessee. (Getty Images)
Third grader Scott Pullen puts the finishing touch on his Valentine to his mom, at Curley Elementary School in Boston in 1999. (Tom Herde/The Boston Globe/Getty Images)
Students at The Andre Agassi Prep School present 1,400 hand made Valentine cards to veterans at The Andre Agassi Prep School on Feb. 7, 2008, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Denise Truscello/Getty Images)

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