Butler County Times Gazette
  • Visitors recall their time in middle school

  • More than 100 people visited El Dorado Middle School Thursday afternoon, sharing memories and recalling events from their years in middle school.
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  • More than 100 people visited El Dorado Middle School Thursday afternoon, sharing memories and recalling events from their years in middle school.
    An open house and tours of the building were offered at the school, which will be closed at the end of the semester when the new middle school opens.
    "We heard lots of great stories and saw a host of wonderful old friends and made some new ones," said Jean Plummer, who helped organize the event along with Lou Clennan, Connie Phillips and Les Limon, as well as help from the EMS StuCo group.
    Among those attending the open house was Kenneth Hodgens, who was in the class of 1946. He was visiting the school for the first time since he attended as a student, along with his grandson, Jamie Barlow. After finding his photo in an old yearbook, as well as his wife's, they took a tour of the school.
    He commented that a lot had changed in the building, including the addition of air conditioning.
    Randy Browning, who graduated from junior high in 1975, also was attending along with his wife, Pam.
    He said he was just seeing how things had changed since he was last in the building 38 years ago.
    Others attending were Bill and Sarah Johnston. While they did not attend EMS, their children did.
    In addition, Sarah served on the school board for 16 years and Bill was a psychologist for the middle school, so both had spent a lot of time in the building.
    "Our kids were in every sport conceivable so we spent a lot of time here," Bill said.
    In addition to taking tours of the building, those attending could look at the yearbooks on display, as well as a variety of old photos and a timeline of the school, to which they could add events.
    The timeline dated back to 1921.
    In that year, Wilbur the Wildcat was initiated as mascot and the junior high was constructed at 600 W. Central.
    In 1927, the junior college was established on the second floor. Then in 1937, the u-shape facility for the high school and junior college was completed and May was the first class to graduate in the auditorium.
    May 7, 1937 was the dedication of EHS and the junior college and 1938 was the first full year of students to enjoy the new school.
    The timeline continued in 1956 when the junior college moved to the old Jefferson School on West First (presently Summit Park), where it remained until 1966.
    In 1964 the cafeteria and central kitchen was added, filling in most of the courtyard, and the closed lunch hour began.
    On July 1, 1966, the unified school district was finalized and school bus transportation started.
    Page 2 of 2 - In 1968 the last senior class graduated in the auditorium and the junior high moved to 600 W. Central and the high school to McCollum Road in 1969. In 1981 ninth grade moved to the high school and the junior high changed to the middle school in the present building. In the mid-1990s window air conditioners were installed and in 1999 was the dedication of the auditorium renovation.
    May 2013 was the last eighth grade class to graduate from the old middle school.
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