Sym­bol of com­mu­nity

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

I drove by the new eStem High School. Very hand­some, in­deed! Of course, it does not ap­proach the free­stand­ing majesty of Cen­tral High School. My ju­nior high was like Cen­tral High School. It had been the high school un­til about 1958 when the new high school was built.

“... the new eStem high school con­struc­tion does not in­clude a cafe­te­ria … a li­brary, an au­di­to­rium …”

I en­joyed school. So did ev­ery­body else. We took our classes se­ri­ously. Those of us in band went off to sec­ond pe­riod en­er­gized af­ter hav­ing re­hearsed Shostakovich and Per­sichetti. Some of us re­turned fourth pe­riod to re­hearse Beethoven and Franck with the orches­tra. The cafe­te­ria was a place we gath­ered every day for lunch and a re­view of events aca­demic and so­cial. The old high school li­brary was nearly a sa­cred place and was not so much a place to study, but rather to con­tem­plate and ex­plore. The au­di­to­rium was lit­er­ally a con­cert hall with mag­nif­i­cent art deco trim­mings, a mas­sive bal­cony, and breath­tak­ing up­ward ex­panse.

“Nor does … con­struc­tion in­clude … gym, foot­ball sta­dium, track, or fields” for var­i­ous games.

The gym was a spec­tac­u­lar place and, dur­ing the win­ter, the scene of Fri­day night tilts with the Spring­field Sen­a­tors, the Collinsville Ka­hoks or the fiercely fought con­tests with tra­di­tional sec­tional ri­val Sil­ver Streaks of Gales­burg. Foot­ball was also a fes­tive spec­ta­cle with the lights, cheer­lead­ers, band, and com­mu­nity gath­ered.

One last ob­ser­va­tion. At a re­cent class re­union, my sis­ter spoke at length with the All-State star of the bas­ket­ball team. She wasn’t sure he would re­mem­ber her, but was sur­prised that he never for­got her per­for­mance as Maria in the school’s pro­duc­tion of The Sound of Mu­sic.

The new high school did not sur­vive the test of time. The old school still stands, as does Cen­tral. Each school a proud sym­bol of their com­mu­nity. So happy days are here?

JAMES HATCH

Lit­tle Rock

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