Central School will celebrate 75th anniversary
It has seen a few minor fixes, an addition and a change in the students who attend, but for the most part, the Central School building looks as it did when it was built in 1939.
“We have the new gymnasium and the addition,” teacher Jeff Welk said. “But other than that, you look down these halls and it hasn’t changed much.”
Welk would know. He attended Central School as child when it was a kindergarten through sixth grade elementary school and now teaches there.
“I lived a block away,” Welk said. “I remember that if you forgot an assignment or your lunch, they would let you walk home and get it. It was a neighborhood school and it has always had that neighborhood feel to it.”
Welk said he never planned on coming back to the school he studied at when he left high school.
“I went to college in Minnesota and thought I would go out and conquer the world,” Welk said. “But I came back to do my student teaching and got the job. I have been here ever since. Fifteen years now.”
Welk said he is glad he came back to his home town and to Central School. One reason is his children are now walking the same halls he used to walk as a kid.
“My son is in fourth grade here and it is great to tell him about when I went to school here,” Welk said. “I remember when, what is the library now, was the cafeteria and the gymnasium. It is hard sometimes for the kids to understand. They ask ‘why did you eat in the library.’”
Welk’s connection to the school is one of many stories school staff has uncovered as they prepare to celebrate Central School’s 75th anniversary May 29 with an open house.
“So many students have gone through this school during the years and have a connection to it,” open house coordinator Laurie Lenten said. “This has been a part of the community for so long. We just want to emphasis the history of this building.”
Lenten said the current students have been hard at work discovering some of the historical facts of the building.
“This building was built in 1939 as a WPA project during the Great Depression,” Lenten said. “There is a plaque near one of the doors. The students see it everyday but you don’t really notice it. With this project, they now understand what it means and to see President Franklin Roosevelt’s name on there, really brings home the historical meaning.”
Lenten said students have also been making connections to their families history with the school.
“We have students that tell us their parents or grandparents remember going to school here,” Lenten said. “We have generations that have been a part of this school’s story.”
And those connections will be a large part of the celebration May 29. The open house will run from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and features the theme “Strolling through History” as those attending can see displays marking the school’s heritage. Refreshments and a birthday cake will also be offered along with live music.
Lenten said the celebration is appropriate for a school that has meant so much to the community.
“You don’t realize how much this school is woven into the community until you start looking at its history,” she said. “It has touched so many lives throughout the years.”