LEES CREEK — Well over 100 people attended a May 28 event here for former students of Wayne and Simon Kenton schools — a turnout that goes to show what a closely knit, treasured community Wayne Township has been.
“It was an event not just to remember the past, but to appreciate it. People honored the personal history as well as community history,” said Margaret Myers, Class of 1965 who helped organize the event.
The earliest Wayne graduate who attended was Harold Moore from the Wayne Class of 1941. Wayne and Simon Kenton schools were in existence from 1905 to 1965, when further consolidation with Sabina brought about the current East Clinton school district.
Some event attendees had attended Wayne – Simon Kenton for several years, but then their families moved away and they graduated elsewhere. However, they felt so strongly that Wayne – Simon Kenton was their school, they came back and celebrated with their friends at this reunion.
The program for the reunion was constructed like a day at school. It began with a message from the current East Clinton Local Schools Superintendent Eric McGee. Then a short history class was held, illustrating the eight one-room schools that existed before the community voted to centralize them in 1904. Their votes approved a bond to build a new school, Wayne Township Centralized School, which is believed to be the first centralized school in Ohio.
Because music was a very big part of Wayne and Simon Kenton school days, there was a moment when all the women at the event sang a Kenton song to all the men. It was a pretty special serenade, said Margaret Myers.
In addition, there was some fun sharing of stories of pranks and disciplinary experiences. However, some details were still carefully withheld 58 years after the incident!
At the end, time for recess was declared, and people were able to tour the East Clinton Middle School facility and see where the original foundation stones of the 1905 Wayne School are exposed and can be seen and touched.
What emerged from the experience is a will to continue to meet together to remember and honor the community of Wayne – Simon Kenton and the good fortune to have grown up in this place and time.
A website created by John Myers (Class of 1960) at www.Wayne-SimonKenton.org recently led a 2013 graduate of East Clinton to write: “This website is extremely awesome. I am glad to see there is an online repository of memories, pictures, and experiences that help tell the story. I firmly believe that to understand ourselves, we must first understand the past experiences that those before us had. Knowing history builds a deeper understanding of a specific time and place. Every place has a story uniquely their own. This is a great service to this community.”