Gearing up to celebrate 150 years of public education

Jennifer McKee displays t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies emblazoned with the South Charleston Education Sesquicentennial Celebration logo. The shirts are available for purchase at Village Chic. Proceeds go toward the celebration which will take place Sept. 25-26 in conjunction with the South Charleston Heritage Commission’s Heritage Days festival.

(Posted April 29, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Fundraising is in full swing for the South Charleston Education Sesquicentennial Celebration, set to take place Sept. 25-26 in conjunction with South Charleston’s Heritage Days Festival.

The celebration commemorates 150 consecutive years of public education in South Charleston. During Heritage Days, the planning committee will participate in the parade, display memorabilia, and present several proclamations. They also plan to take part in Southeastern Schools’ alumni banquet on June 19, award one or more scholarships to seniors from this year’s graduating class, and make donations to various community organizations.

The committee has already held one successful sub sandwich sale–so successful, in fact, that they are holding another one. The eight-inch subs are $5 each and are made with Audinno’s Italian Bakery buns, Virginia baked ham, salami, pepperoni and provolone cheese from the Cheese House. The sale runs from May 17 to June 4. Orders and payment are due by June 4. To place an order, contact: Pete Conley, (937) 631-1979,; or Barb Florence, or (937) 462-7398. The subs will be available for pickup between 10 a.m. and noon on June 12 at Blessings On Willow, 215 Willow St., South Charleston.

“We’re also selling shirts and framed prints featuring the logo for the 150th celebration,” said Jennifer Jones McKee, a committee vice president and 1970 Southeastern Schools graduate. “We have had people buy the prints for this year’s graduates–they are the 150th graduating class. We can customize the prints with the graduate’s name.”

Framed prints of the South Charleston Education 150th Celebration logo are available for purchase. They can be customized to include a graduate’s name.

The framed prints are $25. Shirt options include: short-sleeved t-shirts, $20; long-sleeved t-shirts, $25; sweatshirts, $35; and hoodies, $40. The prints and shirts can be purchased anytime at Village Chic, 17 S. Chillicothe St. They also will be sold at Village Market which takes place along Chillicothe Street in downtown South Charleston from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first Saturday of the month, May through September. The committee will sell the items at the alumni banquet and at Heritage Days, as well.

Planning for the sesquicentennial began three years ago after Dwain Robbins, a 1971 graduate, mentioned to school leaders that his class was the 100th to graduate from South Charleston schools. With the class’s 50th reunion coming up in 2021, he thought it would be something special to recognize.

“It snowballed from there,” Robbins said.

The idea blossomed into a celebration of the entirety of public school education in South Charleston, and Robbins serves as executive director of the event’s board of directors.

Originally, the group had hoped to hold the celebration in conjunction with the alumni banquet in June but decided to move the festivities to September due to uncertainty about the state of the pandemic and related safety regulations.

“Even though it was a difficult decision to postpone the celebration, we thought it was in the best interest of all who wanted to attend. It’s also a great opportunity to work together with another very dedicated non-profit group in the South Charleston Heritage Commission,” McKee said.

Even with the date change, the goal remains the same.

“We want to celebrate the fact that we’ve had 150 consecutive classes graduate from South Charleston schools, and we want to unite everyone who loves South Charleston and loves our school system,” McKee said.

“We are grateful for the support we have received so far,” Robbins said.

The SCE 150th Committee meets monthly at Village Chic. Officers are: Pete Conley, president; Donna Myers Bonsell, secretary; Gayle Kinnaird Johnson, vice president; Jennifer Jones McKee, vice president; and Barbara Florence, treasurer. In addition to Robbins, the board includes Gregory R. Flax, Esq., and Robert Entler.

For more information and updates, call Dwain Robbins at (740) 775-7995 or follow “South Charleston Education 150 Years SCE 150, Inc.” on Facebook.

In addition to the sub, shirts, and framed print sales, the committee welcomes financial donations at Park National Bank.

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