METAMORA - When Metamora Village School opened in 1909, students still rode to classes by horse and buggy, most did not have telephones at home, and the average weekly wage was $9.70.
"Of course there was no television, no computers, and no PlayStations," Evergreen Local School District Superintendent Kenneth Jones told middle school students on their last day of classes in the old building yesterday. "I wonder how those kids survived."
Students, who were gathered in the gymnasium before boarding buses to take them to their new school 6 miles away in Amboy Township, responded with ahhs.
A few minutes later they were hooting as alumnus Greg Geer gave them a fuller understanding of the history of the building they were leaving.
"Ladies and gentleman: You are not the first person to get your first kiss in this building," Mr. Geer said.
Middle school students will start classes Monday in the former Evergreen High School, built in 1967 and renovated this year. It is attached to the new high school. The district is constructing an elementary school nearby on Fulton County Road 6 that is to replace its elementaries in Lyons and Ai.
The future of the Metamora building is uncertain. Village council hopes to decide by next month whether it wants the school, Mayor Gary Loar said.
An alumni committee, which has dreams of turning the building into a museum, has been meeting monthly since September, said Marilyn Meinen, who graduated in 1953. But it has yet to choose a name for the group or develop a list of members.
Yesterday, however, was devoted to moving and remembering.
"This place seems so small now," June King, who graduated in 1945, told students as she addressed them from the gymnasium floor. But when she was a cheerleader, she remembers shaking as she ran into the auditorium in front of "everybody." Everybody in the
school at that time was a lot fewer people. There were 26 in her graduating class.
Sylvia Schrader Feather, who graduated in 1958, remembered her amazement at the small town atmosphere when she moved from Toledo to Metamora. The sixth-grade teacher often sent two pupils "uptown" - which was only a block or two away - to get a piece of pie for her lunch.
Being in Metamora is what middle school Principal Tom Shafer might miss most. He walked to the bank from the school. Teachers and their classes walked to Evergreen Community Library.
He'll also miss the building with its built-in wooden bookcases with glass doors, and terrazzo floors with MHS 1932 set in the design at the top of the stairs, where an early building addition was made.
"The old building has a lot of character," he said.
The newly renovated building in Amboy Township has about the same amount of space as the Metamora building. The classrooms are smaller, but the gymnasium and lockers are bigger. Among extras the Metamora building didn't are a science lab fitted with natural gas and vents.
Stephanie Staffen, an eighth grader, noticed the lockers were bigger than in Metamora. Cortney Ramin, a seventh grader, said the restroom stall doors shut more tightly than the wooden doors in Metamora. And Tyler Waugh, a sixth grader, was excited because the gymnasium was bigger.
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