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Our Story

Ona and John Zukas


John and Ona Zukas immigrated to the United States from Lithuania after World War II. After settling in Cleveland, Ohio they moved west to Los Angeles in 1963 to avoid the harsh winters. Having a background in construction, John built several homes in the Los Feliz/Silverlake area during the late 1960s.

In 1966 they purchased Prairie Playland, a preschool in Hawthorne, CA. Ona served as cook while John took over remodeling. At this time, both John and Ona took the necessary college coursework in Child Development. Four years later, John built Zukas Preschool in El Monte, CA.

The couple decided they wanted to expand their business by building a facility specially designed for a preschool. They chose a location in Glendale, CA that was home to an A&W Root Beer Stand for its prime location with easy freeway access. Construction was soon underway and in August 1972 Glendale Preschool & Kindergarten opened its doors to serve the community.

Sadly, only a year later John passed away leaving Ona with the task of running the school on her own. She served as Director for nine years until she retired in 1982 and her daughter Irene took over as Director of Glendale Preschool & Kindergarten.


In 2018, Ona passed away peacefully at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 90.

Glendale Preschool & Kindergarten

August 1972

Graduation 1980
Halloween 1982
Ona Norkus
Ms. Irene 1982
July 1978
Ms. Irene
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