I’ve been working on some other writing projects and decided it was time to share. A few months ago I decided to write a history of our local school district. In addition to using facts, I’ve also been interviewing people involved with the district: former administrators, faculty, staff, students. Why is this all so interesting to me? Well, the district evolved very quickly from a rural outpost to a suburban stronghold in terms of education.
Naturally I wanted to discover what was behind this rise to academic excellence. There is very little material available in the community about the schools, especially the early years from about 1900-1930. However, I hit the mother lode today. I’m not even certain what I found will provide a ton of information, but I found the early records I was seeking in the basement of our local middle school.
Plus my excursion gave me the opportunity to wander the halls of one of my former schools. The current middle school was originally the town’s junior/senior high school and was built in the early 1930’s. Many additions have been added over the decades so a school once built to house 500 students in grades 7-12 now houses about 1100 students in grades 6-8.
A pool was added in the 1950’s and alumni from that time period note with pride that it was one of the first area schools to have a pool. Looking through yearbooks from the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, it looks to have been a happy place. Today I was lucky enough to see the sliding metal door that once provided a measure of safety to the area that served as a fallout shelter. I think I have seen stouter-looking doors on movie sets…cough, cough. Still, it must have provided a sense of security.
I’ve also been told that there was an observation post on the roof of the school during the 1940’s and some lucky junior and senior boys were allowed to take shifts to watch for foreign aircraft. Trust me, if you knew how small the town is it would seem silly to you as well. However I recognize how real the threat must have been at that time. Plus our small town is adjacent to our state’s capitol city, so….
This is why I love history and feel it should be preserved. People should know what came before them and set the foundation for what they enjoy. As a product of the school district, I know I received a terrific education. That became painfully obvious to me during my freshman year of college. It seemed easy because of the preparation I received in high school.
I will try to share more snippets as I progress through my project.