Free Soil’s party of the century

June 22, 2013
Jim (class of '61) and Dawn ('62) Jackoviak dance in the gym.

Jim (class of ’61) and Dawn (’62) Jackoviak dance in the gym.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

Alumni check out old photographs.

Alumni check out old photographs.

FREE SOIL – Free Soil Community School ended its existence in style Saturday with the party of the century, literally. Not only is it the end of the school, but this year marks its 100th year as well. Hundreds of Free Soil alumni and friends attended the all school reunion. The event featured music and dancing, food, kids and adults games, school tours, memorabilia and lots of stories.

Ernie Martinez grew up on a farm nearby and was one of 13 who graduated in 1964. He spent many years in Scottville and now lives near Hesperia.

“I’ve seen a lot of friends who I haven’t seen in a long time,” he said while walking the halls of the former elementary school. “There are a lot of people here.”

Martinez said the reunion was nice and while it’s sad to see the school district dissolve, he understands. “It’s time,” he said.

Members of the singing group "The Five Pennies" reunite.

Members of the singing group “The Five Pennies” reunite.

“I didn’t expect this many people here,” said Maura Gilbert, class of 2006. Gilbert was probably one of the youngest graduates in attendance. The last senior class graduated in 2007. “I am the only one from my class here,” she said. “There were eight of us.”

Bernita Hurd, class of ’61, was one of the organizers of the reunion.

“This is fantastic,” she said. “It’s a sad occasion but it’s also a happy event. All the people seem to be having a good time. Everybody seems to know somebody. Free Soil and it’s school was like a big family. We’ve always been close.”

On Monday, the Free Soil Board of Education will meet for one last time. On July 1 the district will officially be absorbed into the Mason County Eastern Public School district.

 

Editor’s note: This editor, as a reporter and photographer, spent a lot of time at Free Soil school in the early ’90s. I remember taking basketball game pictures in the old gymnasium – literally standing on the court during the game, because there was no other place for the photographer to stand. Through my work there, I met some great people. Go Pirates!  

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