By Linda Dillman
Familiar faces filled a familiar place as former students, who spent an afternoon in a recently renovated former Hamilton Township elementary school in Lockbourne, walked through its doors for an annual celebration.
The village of Lockbourne held its second School Reunion Luncheon on Aug. 25 in what is now known as the Lockbourne Historical Hall. The building is the former home of a Masonic lodge that started out as Hamilton Local Schools’ first four-year high school at the end of the 19th century and later educated elementary students.
“The old schoolhouse will continue to be a link to the past as we move forward to the future,” said Lockbourne Mayor Christie Ward.
The brick building closed as an elementary school in the early 1950s. Some former students attended the event and shared memories.
“The Korean War was going on. It was 1951 and we had bomb drills instead of fire drills,” said Frank Peters. “My dad was on the school board for 22 years and I came down here to school on Wendell Herron’s bus. I totally enjoyed being in this school. I remember going out at lunch to the pump to get water and you left your own cup here.”
Carolyn Forshey Young, who graduated from Hamilton Township High School in 1958 and now lives in Florida, said she still considers Lockbourne home.
“I remember one year when there was a big snowfall,” said Young. “All the kids in town got together and started rolling a snowball at one end of the town and then ended up at the other end with a gigantic snowball. You could do something like that back then.”
Young and Lockbourne Village Administrator Jane McJunkin took time to look at artifacts scattered throughout the room, including a small painting of a cardinal created by Young’s mother, Mary Forshey, when the family lived in Lockbourne decades ago.
McJunkin attended first grade in the former schoolhouse and updated everyone on current village activities involving the building as it now serves as an event center.
“We have really renovated a lot in this old school,” said McJunkin. “We’ve had a graduation party here and a birthday party. There were the fish fries and a motorcycle club event. We already have a wedding scheduled for next year. We’re trying to raise funds now to install a deck outside and a handicap ramp. We’re thinking where council now meets to turn it into a small museum when council starts meeting here.”
Hamilton Local Schools Superintendent Mark Tyler helped to bridge the old with the new and provided an update of what the district now offers to its students as they prepare for life after graduation, whether it is enlisting in the military, attending college, or heading straight to work.
“This building is incredible to me and how quickly this occurred,” said Tyler. “They (village organizers) had a vision and here it is. A lot has changed in the schools. Some changes are great, some are less than desirable, but the pride and the passion has not gone away. There is a special kind of bond in this community.”