School artifacts back on display

Springfield City School District has a treasure trove of historic items, and many of those items are now on display inside Springfield High School.

Members of the district’s Artifacts Committee and staff have been working over the past two years to locate and inventory the items, then decide where to place them and actually put them on display.

The Honor Roll cases are now mounted on a wall just inside the main entrance to the high school. A wall outside the school’s library features the Freedom Shrine. The Frieze and various war memorials now hang inside the library.

Many items previously at South High School that were removed from that building and placed in storage can also now be seen. Those include a variety of pictures of principals of the school, plaques and other memorabilia.

During a meeting in November, Artifacts Committee members discussed new proposals and recommended to the board of education that the high school gym be named either “The Legends Gymnasium” or “The Legacy Gymnasium” and that signs and plaques be erected “to recognize past athletes, coaches and community members for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions and provide an opportunity to recognize others in the future.” The committee’s recommendation called for current Springfield High students to vote on the proposal.

Campus Director Jonathan Kuehnle says the students “basically sent us back to the drawing board”, deciding “it really doesn’t connect with (the students)” and they would like to name the gym after a specific person.

During the November meeting, Artifacts Committee members also discussed and endorsed a recommendation from Springfield High School administrators. It called for banners or flags of colleges, technical schools, the Armed Forces and possibly places of career-oriented employment along with graduating students accepted into those institutions to be hung in the school’s cafetorium.

Superintendent David Estrop says that would show pride in those students, who are “some of our best and brightest.”

Kuehnle told me the banners went up on Tuesday and have been well received by the students. Below the banners, which are in the high school’s cafetorium, are names of students who have already committed to schools or the military branches. Because it’s still early in the process of committing, he pointed out, more names will be added as time goes on.

Another initiative of the Artifacts Committee has been collecting pictures of past principals of Springfield High, Springfield North and Springfield South High Schools. Kuehnle says photography class students continue working on preparing those pictures to be hung in the high school this summer. That effort is part of the school’s Problem-Based Learning program, where the students are presented with real-life situations to gain practical experience.

An opportunity to see Springfield High School — and the various items that have been installed there — is coming up soon. The school will host an Open House on Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 6 until 7:30 p.m. Kuenhle says staff and student ambassadors will be on hand to lead tours of the school and to relate their experiences. All 5 high school academies will have display tables to provide information as well. While the event is designed for current 8th graders, the public is also invited to attend.

Transportation is being arranged through the school bus system, and dinner will be provided through the district’s The Learning Cafe. Students will eat free, with a $3 cost for adults.

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