First of all, rent the movie "Waiting for Guffman". Watch it at home. It
will greatly improve your sense of the gently absurd in celebrating this
sort of event. It may not, however, give you any great ideas.
How about using this to explore the ways different cultures commemorate
anniversaries of historic events?
One modern cross-cultural way we do this is through commemorative stamps.
Students could look at commemorative stamps from around the world, maybe
somebody could show a stamp collection. Enlarge a few good looking stamps in
slides. Look at them as miniature works of art. Let each student design a
commemorative stamp for their school anniversary. Design them in a nice
workable size, for example black & white line, then have a copy shop reduce
them and print several-up on a page, or in color and scan - if you depending
on your set-up. Discuss how different the work looks when it is reduced. If
you have to do them in b&w the students can color the sheet-full of stamps
with colored pencils and have them color photocopied. The holes can be
punched by running them through an unthreaded sewing machine. Then they can
trade or sell their stamps if they like. (collect the whole commemorative
set!) There are recipes (I don't have one -somebody on the list will, no
doubt) for making the adhesive, or if you have the funds you can have the
color-photocopied or printed on adhesive-backed paper.
Or, take a cross-cultural look at monuments. Let the kids design monuments.
This will let you talk about scale and meaning, depicting large-scale in a
drawing, etc. Maybe you can find stuff about architects submissions for
buildings and monuments that were never intended to really be built - the
newspaper building in Chicago is a good example, I wish I could think of it,
but it is from around the 20's - they had a call for entries and those
entries are still exhibited as a show from time to time. Someone on the list
will know what I'm talking about!
Anyway, these "submissions of designs" would make a fun exhibit. You could
do drawings or maquettes depending on the group!
Or, look at photos of the school and schoolchildren from that era. Talk
about what school was like in those days, or have somebody fun come talk to
them who was a student at that time. Have them do self-portraits in sepia
with that clothing and hair and in that school setting and write a story
about what they think it might have been like to be in school in those days.
Do something with schoolyard games / rhymes of the era -
Look at lots of photos from the 20's of your town, then have the kids go
find that location now, photograph it, and have a comparative photo exhibit