One last hurrah
Fifty years after the last graduating class of Central High School donned caps and gowns, the alumni of the former Superior high school -- turned junior high and middle school -- are all coming together for one last chance to reminisce.
Fifty years after the last graduating class of Central High School donned caps and gowns, the alumni of the former Superior high school - turned junior high and middle school - are all coming together for one last chance to reminisce.
The committee of Central alumni that has twice before brought together generations of alumni of the school that once served as a summer White House is hosting another reunion for all who passed through the halls of the former Superior school.
It will be the last, organizers say.
“It’s a numbers game,” said Ron Cain, class of 1961, who is handling memorabilia for the event. Since the first all-class reunion held in 2004, the number of alumni has continued to dwindle, from 1,200 at that first reunion, to 800 at the all-class reunion in 2010. This year, organizers are hoping 200-300 can attend.
Now is the chance for former Central alumni to collect that memorabilia. Cain said it will all be laid out and former students can take what they want with the hope that alumni will contribute a donation to put toward a student scholarship, or an effort to move the James Hill statue that once stood in front of the former school nestled between Grand and Weeks avenues north of Belknap Street.
“It’s been one of our goals to move the statue to a more prominent location in the city,” said Carol Reasbeck, co-chairwoman of the organizing committee.
Before the school was razed in 2004, the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad move the statue for the city to its rail yard on North 28th Street.
Reasbeck, who was a city councilor at the time, said the city maintains ownership, and she and others would like to see it moved to a more prominent location in the city.
“We’ve had petitions and we will have petitions again for people to sign to say we would like to see it in another place,” Reasbeck said. “We really thank Burlington Northern for taking it on, but it really needs to be in a more prominent place.”
Central High School opened its doors in 1910, and served as one of the city’s high schools for more than 50 years. When the last class graduated in 1965, the school became a junior high, then middle school, serving students for almost another 40 years before it closed.
During its 93-year history as a school, hundreds upon hundreds of Superior youth passed by the Coolidge Room, sat through concerts and plays in the auditorium nestled in the heart of the school, and roamed through its U-shaped corridors or cut through the mezzanine.
The Coolidge Room was named for President Calvin Coolidge who conducted the nation’s business from the school in 1928, when he wasn’t fishing the Brule River. The school later gave Sen. John F. Kennedy a platform to deliver a speech as he campaigned for president.
Among the many thousands of graduates who walked the hallowed halls of Superior’s Central High School were sports greats, entertainers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, academics, a Nobel Laureate and numerous heroes who heeded the nation’s call and fought to preserve freedom. One of them is Richard I. Bong, a Medal of Honor recipient recognized as a national hero – America’s Ace of Aces – after he shot down 40 enemy aircraft during World War II, a distinction that remains touched.
During this final all-class reunion, Reasbeck said it will be less formal than others held in 2004 and 2010. However, they are still planning to honor alumni veterans who went on to serve their country.
“I think the group enjoys getting together,” Reasbeck said. “It’s hard to say that’s it; we’re never doing it again.’”
She said it really is a community event because it brings together so many generations of people who attended the former school.
“Bring your memories,” Reasbeck said.