Demolition set, but Oakland edifice will host final celebration
OAKLAND — When a high school is more than 90 years old, it's probably not possible to measure the lives changed within its walls.
But those who love Oakland High School, which has been standing since 1921 and will be demolished this summer, are going to give it the recognition they believe it deserves Saturday.
Oakland resident Mary Anne Hanner said it's a chance to celebrate an iconic Oakland building.
"We know that everything has its time," Hanner said. "I think it's going to be a very neat experience for us, to say thanks to this building."
The high school will be celebrated at a special event Saturday, which will include tours from noon to 2 p.m.
At 2 p.m., organizers will host a program in the nearby New Gym to hear alumni stories about the high school. An alumni band will play the old school song, alums will be recognized and a raffle featuring a logo with the school on it will be held. Light refreshments will be served, as well.
Organizers are also hoping to raise $2,500 to put up a black granite monument on the lot after the high school is demolished. It will feature an etched image of the school and columns made with bricks from the school.
They're also selling CDs and books of photos to raise money. You can find more information online on those and on the project and program as a whole at http://www.ohsmemories.com and on Facebook at OHS: 90 Years of Memories News.
Next year, Oakland's high school students will attend a new school that's being built onto the nearby grade school.
Oakland resident Janice Hunt's parents were high school sweethearts there; both she and her brother attended, as well.
"It's special for a lot of people who went through there," Hunt said. "A lot of people have that long-standing family connection" to the school.
Hunt said the marker will serve as a tribute for those who went there, and as "a historical marker of sorts for future generations," showing what it looked like and what it has meant to the community.
The ground the school stands on will become a grassy lot, with room for physical education classes, Hunt said, because it's near the grade school and what will be the new high school.
Hanner said Saturday's program will feature memories from alumni that organizers, such as herself and Hunt, have been collecting.
"Some people sent some short little stories; others wrote longer essays," Hanner said. "We've compiled those into four or five short readings that we're going to present that I think everybody there will be able to relate to."
It will also feature alumni on a film by Lerna native Nick Riccio. The film was paid for with a grant from the Oakland-Hindsboro Charitable Foundation.
Hanner said it won't focus so much on one person, but on all of those who have graduated from Oakland High School.
"It's really about our collective experience," Hanner said. "I hope when people are sitting there and one of our readers or one of the people in our film mentions something, (audience members will think,) 'Oh, I was there, I remember,' or 'I had a similar experience.' It prompts everyone to think of their wonderful memories at Oakland High School."