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Published: Monday, 11/2/2009

Burnham alumni gather for final school reunion

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Rick Barricklow, left, and hs wife, Kati, join Morgan Ford of the Burnham High School class of 1938 to review class pictures during an open house held before the building is demolished. Rick Barricklow, left, and hs wife, Kati, join Morgan Ford of the Burnham High School class of 1938 to review class pictures during an open house held before the building is demolished.
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Frank Basler thumbed through newspaper clippings and meandered the hallways of the former Burnham High School in Sylvania yesterday, a school he quit during the Great Depression before he could graduate.

"I would have graduated in 1938, but I had to leave school to get a job because no one was working," Mr. Basler said. "There are a lot of memories here, but I don't remember the cafeteria. Guess I didn't spend much time there."

Soon there will be only memories for Mr. Basler and others who once attended the school. It opened on Monroe Street in 1926.

The former high school, which now houses the Sylvania schools' administrative offices and special-services classrooms, will be razed this winter to clear land for a new Maplewood Elementary School - something alumna Sylvia DeBord would like to see averted.

Morgan Ford displays pictures of himself as a high school senior and of his class of 1938. Mr. Ford attended Sunday's community open house for Burnham High School alumni. Morgan Ford displays pictures of himself as a high school senior and of his class of 1938. Mr. Ford attended Sunday's community open house for Burnham High School alumni.
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"I think it's in excellent condition, but I guess life goes on," Mrs. DeBord said at Sunday's "Back to Burnham Community Open House."

The event drew dozens of graduates and their families who spent hours reconnecting, remembering long-gone teachers, and finding old special spots in the aging building.

Mrs. DeBord, who graduated in 1943, attended the open house with her husband, Wesley DeBord, who graduated six years later than she did.

Together, the couple found Mr. DeBord's varsity basketball photograph in one of several yearbooks on display.

The former Burnham High School now houses the Sylvania school district's administration offices. The building is to be demolished this winter. The former Burnham High School now houses the Sylvania school district's administration offices. The building is to be demolished this winter.
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"Lot of good memories," Mr. DeBord said while making his way to where Burnham high schoolers played basketball.

Among the alumni was Mor-gan Ford, who, like many of his classmates, fought in World War II after leaving school.

Mr. Ford, 89, grew up in the small village of Berkey. He recalled a classroom assignment that prompted one of his friends to leap from a second-floor window.

"We had to do a paradigm, where you showed some emotions," Mr. Ford said. "He sat at the teacher's desk and made like he was sad and then jumped from the window." The classmate was unharmed but scolded for the stunt, Mr. Ford said.

Others wandered the school and bumped into people they hadn't seen in years.

Burnham's last class graduated in 1960, after which students moved to the new Sylvania High School - now Sylvania Northview - on Silica Drive just a short distance south.

Maplewood School, which stands next to Burnham on Judi Young Drive, will be torn down after the new school opens, with its site to be converted into parking and landscaping.

Nancy Crandell, a school district spokesman and head of the Burnham preservation committee, said certain relics of the school will be saved.

A large World War II honor roll memorial on the wall next to its auditorium will be moved to the north wall of the ground floor at the city's Administration Building, and should be installed by year's end.

There will also be a farewell reception Nov. 14 at

the building.

The event, which Ms. Crandell described as "the last sock hop at Burnham," will have admission charges of $10 per person or $15 per couple, with the proceeds benefiting the work to preserve Burnham artifacts such as the World War II honor roll.

Class composite photos for the class years 1929 through 1960 and school yearbooks will be turned over to the Sylvania Heritage Museum.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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