Those born in 1952-1954 represented the height of the Baby Boom after World War II. School populations swelled during the early 60’s and many new schools were built. From my corner of the world, many of these schools are now being replaced, levies trying to be passed to build and maintain them. It is interesting to see how many people oppose a natural course of events. None of the buildings were built like the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, with expectations that they would last forever. Actually Fairborn buildings are better built than many neighboring communities.
I digress. As classes gather for reunions, there is some discussion as to who was last to graduate from Fairborn High School and who was first to graduate from Fairborn Baker High School, as if this was an earth-shattering matter! I dug out my diploma and indeed it does say Fairborn High School on it.
As I sift through old newspaper articles, I can see that the Fairborn Daily Herald saw the schools as Fairborn Baker and Fairborn Park Hills, probably as soon as there was news to report for both schools. When we were juniors, Park Hills opened with two classes, freshman and sophomores. There must have been a need to differentiate from that time forward.
Eventually, the Fairborn Daily Herald got it right (see picture). When our graduation was reported in the newspaper, it was the last class to graduate from Fairborn High School. It was the end of an era.
Or…..maybe not. As the student population dwindled, it eventually became apparent that Fairborn did not need two high schools. I truly respect those who take on the responsibilities of any school system in a state of change. We have had two classmates serve on the Fairborn City Schools Board of Education. The classmates that have earned their livelihood as instructors or other employees in the Fairborn City Schools are too numerous to even attempt to mention.
In the fall of 1982 the schools were combined again, a process which had as many implications as the split in the first place. What would the fight song be, what would the colors be, and what would the mascot be called? The Park Hills graduates didn’t want to be lost in the history of Fairborn. The high school was moved to what I still call the “Park Hills building” and the junior highs were combined at Baker. The Central Elementary/Junior High building was closed. It remained closed and a financial albatross to the Fairborn City Schools for many years. In approximately 1998 (?) it was opened as senior citizen housing. It is an excellent use for that building and many of the architectural features have been preserved.
Today we have Fairborn Primary (Five Points Elementary and Junior High) which houses grades K-3, Fairborn Intermediate (Palmer-South) houses grades 4-5, East Elementary houses grade 6 and is technically part of the Baker Middle School campus, with grades 7 and 8 in the Baker Middle School building. What we considered Park Hills High School is now Fairborn High School.
The combined school that became Fairborn High School is part of a new era. The staff was combined and many of the teachers that taught us were part of that movement. Gradually they retired, and times change. As many of us return to Fairborn, we think it should be as we remember it, but that is no truer of Fairborn Ohio as it is of Anytown USA, where you make your home.
However, nothing will ever take away the distinction of the Class of 1971 being the last class of the original Fairborn High School. Go Flyers!
On deck: The Delights and Downsides to Social Networking
In the Hole: A Friend Request