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ST. MARYS — For 86 years, Memorial High School stood at the center of St. Marys and was a gathering place for the community.
“The old school was the center of our community for generations — for 86 years to be exact,” Author Buz Howard read from his newest book, “The Life and Times of Memorial High School: A Pictorial History, 1924-2010” Tuesday night. “From 1924 to 2010, it stood majestically right in the center of our town.”
Howard presented a few pictures from “The Life and Times of Memorial High School: A Pictorial History, 1924-2010” to a crowd gathered at St. Marys Community Public Library Tuesday night and reviewed some of the history of Memorial High School, beginning in 1924 with the construction of the school. The land for the school, he said, was donated by Lemon Neely.
“He was a very, very wealthy man, and he donated the land for Memorial High School,” Howard said. “He purchased it there on South Street, and he donated it with a stipulation ... Memorial High School was in memory of Carrie May Neely, Lemon Neely’s wife, who died in 1918.”
Throughout his presentation, Howard displayed pictures of the faculty and students of Memorial High School, in addition to various pictures of the building itself. His presentation featured several accomplished Memorial High School sports teams and clubs.
To conclude his presentation, Howard read an excerpt from his book.
“The new high school, spacious and comfortable, has many practical advantages,” he read. “For many years, we desperately needed a new facility. Nevertheless, for old-timers like myself, memories of the high school experience will always be set in the framework of the old building. To us, it was our center of learning, the center of our social life, our center of culture and entertainment, a place of music and drama and sporting events and a site of public meetings, speeches and public debates.”
Howard said he hopes the book will help area residents and Memorial High School graduates remember their times at the school.
“All we have now is a big, vacant space and pictures and memories,” he said. “The pictures may jog those memories and that’s why I wrote this book.”
“The Life and Times of Memorial High School: A Pictorial History, 1924-2010,” which includes approximately 1,000 pictures spread across more than 240 pages, is available for $25 at Minster Bank, Pantry Pride, Fowler’s TV and The Evening Leader. Proceeds from the sale will benefit seven scholarship funds, including the Tom and Jace Howard Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Andrew Howick Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Jarrett Fowler Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Emil and Onnolee Steva Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Jim and Grace Young Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Dylan Everage Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Jim Davis Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Howard will hold a book signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Minster Bank in St. Marys. He will hold a second presentation at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at the St. Marys Community Public Library. For more information, like “The Life & Times of Memorial High School” on Facebook.