JACKSON CENTER — Anyone driving through Jackson Center at 12:30 Friday afternoon, would have not found anyone around.
That’s because everyone was at Jackson Center Local School saying goodbye. More than 600 community members, students, and alumni gathered on the front lawn of the school to wish it well and look to the future.
During the ceremony on Friday, a few Jackson Center students shared their memories of the old school and excitement for the new one that will soon be built.
Wyatt Wentz, second-grader said, a few things he is looking forward to in the new school is a new gym, classrooms upstairs and new playground equipment.
“The reason I would like a new gym is because I will play basketball in junior high school one day, second, having classrooms upstairs will be awesome because I will get a lot of exercise going up and down the stairs. Finally, I would like new playground equipment is getting boring because I have been playing on it since preschool,” Wentz said. “Once the new school is built I will be even prouder to be a Jackson Center Tiger.”
Katelyn Gayer, third-grader said, it will be a big change and there will be more space for the students to get where they need to go. “It is also good because we will get air conditioning, in the spring and summer it gets very hot. We don’t have air conditioning now, so we are often sweaty. That will be a relief to stay cool at school,” she said.
“Going to school in the old building was an adventure. We never really knew how to dress. Not that we cared what we looked like, but we didn’t know if it was going to be super hot or super cold,” Senior Peyton Esser said.
Freshman Maelee Enochs recalled a time her fourth-grade class had class in the hallway because their classroom was so hot.
“We had just came in from recess and were all hot and sweaty when our teacher told us to get up and we went to the cool high school side of the building where she told us we’d be having class in the hallway that day,” Enochs said. “Having the new building air conditioned will be wonderful.”
She is also looking forward to having the band room on the first floor in the new school to more easily move instruments and equipment.
Esser said many people tell the students how lucky they are to go to a school like Jackson Center, but the underclassmen are about to become a lot more lucky.
“The dream of a new school has been dangled in front of us since junior high, the time is finally here,” she said. “But there was something very special about going to the same school your parents and grandparents went to. … It’s strange that just in a short time, the words ‘the old school’ will have such a different meaning. The building may not be around for much longer, but the memories made in it will last forever.”
Esser said, I may take back what I said earlier, the underclassman are lucky to get the new building, but I think we are more lucky that we got to go to school in a place that holds so many memories and experiences.
“The classes of 2016 and 2017 will not walk the halls as students of the new school, so it’s kind of a bitter sweet moment, but as the new generations of Jackson Center come, I hope that this new building will the place of many great memories and education, as much as the old building was to the students,” said Christen Ware, junior, the master of ceremonies for the day.
After the students shared their memories, they moved to the north west side of the building were the new school will stand. A student from each grade, some teachers, and the board of education, and administrations all broke ground on the school.
Plastipak donated containers for everyone at the ceremony to take home a sample of soil.
The construction and engineering teams for the new school, Jackson Center Village employees including the administrator and mayor, Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart, and State Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, 84th District, were just some of the big names at the event.
The Jackson Center Band and Choir also performed.