*Update: RIP NHS: 1940-2010

Posted on June 10, 2010


I went to see my high school today. I attended Newark High School from 1998 to 2002. I had a graduating class of nearly 500 students. The principal at the time was Mr. Mann. The band director was Mr. Randall Lamb.

No more sidewalks

The high school will never look like it once did. There were 11 buildings. Some will be demolished, some will be renovated, but overall, the entire look will be different.

“A” was the gym, fully equipped with a weight room/fan stand, large locker rooms (or at least they seemed large in 9th and 10th grade), and it’s where the NHS Pep Band cheered on the male and female basketball players. Locker rooms are definitely a source of humiliation, FYI.

“B” was the building where the food was made. Someone apparently thought it would be adequate torture to put the kids who were penalized with “in-school suspension” in there. How would I know this? In 2001, Mrs. Harvey and whomever else changed the attendance rules. Originally, a student could miss a certain number of days per half year. They changed it so that late-to-rise students like me ended up severely punished for lagging behind and getting to the first class late. The first time was a freebie. 2nd time was a detention, 3rd was two detentions, 4th was in-school suspension, 5th was “Saturday School,” and 6th was an out-of-school suspension. What’s funny is they started calling it in- and out-of-school “support”. Pffffffffft! That was a crock.

“C”, “D”, and “E” buildings alternated roles as the History, English, Natural Science, Foreign Language, Home Ec, Math buildings and more. There are three cafeterias, one in each building when you first enter from the courtyard. Each building’s cafeteria offered a different lunch; E building was usually the pizza building. When I was a freshman and sophomore, there were long tables with attached benches for students to sit on. It was cramped, but there was at least room for everyone. My junior year, the school changed the layout and tried to make it seem like a bit of a cafe. FAIL! The layout was nice, but there wasn’t nearly enough room to accommodate all the students. We all recognized this right away. It also made standing in line for lunch a pain because as the students would stand there, other students would confiscate seats if they weren’t saved. Meh, the price we pay.

F building from the Gym

“F” building, which will be the first building to be demolished, very shortly, was the chemistry building. My first class was Natural Science with a teacher whom I cannot remember the name of. My aunt had done an Americorps program for a short time and she had just so happened to be at Camp O’Bannon where my 9th grade class was going for a ropes course. The others and I were taking a leisurely moment under a pavilion when I saw my aunt Susan. The first thing out of her mouth was “Sweet Pea!” The rest of that school year, Zach Evans teased me with that. Ugh. I took my second class there my senior year with a teacher named Ira. I was quite distraught that quarter because my grandfather had passed away early that school year. I found it interesting that Ira wrote the exact same way my grandfather did, style and all. I made peanut brittle in that class.

“G” building is the Hub. It’s this strangely designed building with two floors. The top floor had some classrooms and the bottom floor had a few classrooms and administrative offices. I had 2 years of French classes on the floor with Madame Waite. I enjoyed every moment in her class.

The Bells and The Hub

“H” building was the industrial technology building. It would have made more sense to label that one G and have the Hub labeled as “H”, but noooo. I had a pottery class in that building with my best German friend, Pep. She had come to the States as an exchanged student. She had, by chance, taken the pottery class with Mr. Bussey, who just so happens to be a friend’s uncle – I didn’t know this until the poor man died.  I befriended Pep by asking her if she wanted to go to church with me. I had thought she would have fun because she seemed like such a bubbly person. Turned out, she was not faring well with her host family for a variety of reasons. I, later, found out that a teacher at our high school got involved and Pep was later transferred to another host family from my church. Since then, she has come back to the States during her summer breaks and visited her kindly host family.

Interestingly, there’s no “I” building.

“J” building was the library. While I was attending NHS, the building was renovated and classrooms were added. I had one 10th grade Science class in that building. I had a lot of fun in the class, but it was mostly because of the shenanigans that one of my classmates caused. Dude, you know who you are. The teacher just so happened to be the daughter of my 2nd grade teacher. 🙂 Boy, oh boy. She had a heck of a time trying to keep control of that classroom.

“K” & “L” buildings were the band/orchestra/choir building and auditorium. There was one make-shift classroom in the front lobby of the auditorium that was designated for the theatre folks. I had one theatre class in there. It was after they’d removed the couches and replaced them with restrictive desks. The band room was directly across from choir and orchestra room. In the band room were several trophies from several decades of contests that the Concert, Symphonic, and Marching band had won. There is a room which contains all the rented and personally owned instruments, from piccolos to drum mallets. Mr. Lamb directed in that room for decades. He directed thousands of students, including his son. And who could forget Mr. Isenhart, Mr. Stemen, Mr. Theller, and Ms. Whiteman! Each of these directors helped us from at least middle school. I was involved in two plays. For the first one, I was a ‘human prop’. It was “Flowers For Algernon”. Shawn White was the male lead. The second one, “Li’l Abner,” I was the Head Make-Up Chairperson. I was a bit clueless and was ever-so grateful for the help of Miranda Oliver. Marshall Gutridge was Abner, James Ramsey was the grandpa, and there were other wonderful classmates including Austin Frazee, Shawn White, Travis Kopp, and Katie Holland (who later married aforementioned Kopp). There was also an elite group of thespians. All who were interested auditioned and only the best-of-the-best were permitted into the next season of actors.

I loved those days. I love my memories, aside from some of the nonsense that occurred. I think it’s ridiculous that the school district has decided to ruin a perfectly good campus that could simply use some remodeling.

The NHS Class of 1940

Trees are gone from “The Hill”. The sidewalks from one side of campus to the other are gone. The class donated monuments are gone as well. I talked to a woman at NHS when I called earlier today who said that there would be special care taken with the commemorative items, donated bricks, plaques and such. Thank GOD. My grandmother’s (Mimi) graduating class, 1940, had a circle of bricks in front of C building (I think it was C). I wanted to take my grandma down there to take a picture of her with her brick, but it was already gone. 😦 Talk about disappointment.

If the school district cannot afford bussing for students, from K-12, and the arts are constantly in jeopardy, what makes them think that a giant building which is intended to house 2,000+ students will help them learn? The kids who will be attending NHS for the next 3 years will suffer in long modular buildings to be placed in the parking lot. Also, where are parents going to come up with $55 per uniform set for their kids who are attending a public school? Many parents get clothes for the kids from a fraction of the cost of 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants in the offered set. Granted, the school district is asking for donations to meet their projected cost of $84,000 to help families whose children receive free or reduced lunches (like I did, don’t judge). But if it took so long for citizens to vote to pass the latest levy, what makes anyone think that this goal will be met?

This blog post is very subjective, but each of our experiences at NHS were.

***Update: “It’s my understanding the F building is coming down first, which i belieie is already down. Over time C-D-E will come down, then H building. I think they are keeping A-B-G-K-J.” – via a Facebook friend and fellow alumna

It’s good to know at least those buildings are staying. I was under the impression that all the buildings were to be demolished. Let’s just hope that there is enough of it’s old self to call it alma mater still. It looks like the Wildcats monument from the class of 1940 is remaining where it is. However, all the bricks from the courtyard and another commemorative structure in front of the Arts building are gone and will be preserved somewhere else.

A friend just posted a couple of links on my facebook regarding the renovations:

NHS Rendering and NHS Power Point.

A little dry humor....

Something to look forward to...