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The Suburbanite
  • Board, residents clash on school photos

  • Springfield Board of Education members have been looking at different options to digitize the pictures as opposed to hanging the framed pictures in the new school.

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  • Members of the 50 Plus Association, alumni of Springfield High School, are speaking out in an effort to  continue the tradition of hanging historic graduation pictures in the new high school.
    Board of Education members have been looking at different options to digitize the pictures as opposed to hanging the framed pictures in the new school.
    President of 50 Plus, Conway Anderson disagrees with the plan.
    “Kids are going to see those (the hanging pictures),” Anderson said. “That is history.”
    Anderson added the association has 1,700 people that are willing to help refurbish the framed class pictures that currently hang in Springfield High School. They would set up a fund to refurbish the pictures and work on the pictures as well, to get them in good shape to hang in the new school.
    Board members continue to gather information on how pictures could be displayed at a computer center convenient to the public and could also be accessed from a home computer. School officials said these are different times and the public will not have access to the hallways of the school so they would not be able to see the pictures in the hallway. During events, the hallways will be closed off. Having a computer in the public area would allow for people to see the history.  
     “We are not forgetting Springfield’s history,” Board President Neal Hess said. “We are telling it in a different manner.”
    Hess explained history was first told around a campfire, then carved in rocks, then paper was invented and history was told that way. Now, the dominant form is through electronic media.
    “We’re not killing history, we are just telling it in a different way and in a way that, I think, relates more to today’s generation,” Hess said.
    Hess understands that change is difficult for some members of the community to accept, but believes it is necessary both for society and for Springfield.
    “We are going to tell Springfield’s history in a way that fits a 21st-century high school,” Hess said. “We are going to create an educational environment that prepares our students for the 21st century and I feel very strongly about it.”
    The members of the board are still split in the decision. But school officials continue to look into the digital displays and alumni are expressing that the pictures are a part of the school and should be hung in the halls.
    “Green High School  and Mogadore have put the graduation pictures back up in their new schools. I think it enhances the history of the school," said Tom Burge, a 1962 Springfield graduate.
    Alumni have expressed concern that they have generations of family members that are in those pictures and that it is important that the tradition continue.
    Page 2 of 3 - “For us, it is a big deal,” said Judy Dillon, who has 15 family members who have graduated from Springfield. “It means a lot for those that went to school here.”
    Some alumni, such as Kathleen McDonald, have gone on to college and have come back to teach for the district.
    “I will celebrate living in Springfield for 75 years,” McDonald said. “I went to Kent State and came back here and began my teaching career at Roosevelt. I am a Spartan through and through. My children went to school here.”  She added she had no understanding why anyone would want to take the pictures down from the walls of the school.
    Anderson said alumni are the blood line of the Spartans. He spoke to the board members at the May meeting saying, “If nothing else, it is marketing for you. It is definitely an advantage. Why? Because you would make a lot of people happy.”
    Alumni do not have an objection to the digital display as long as the framed pictures are still hanging in the new school.
    Board member Bobby Dinkins said alumni he has talked with seem to be satisfied with the decision to digitize the pictures.
    “I take my commitment to being on the board and being a Spartan seriously,” Dinkins said. “I continually volunteer in the community. I chose to live here. I know a lot of Spartans that have turned their back on this district. They don’t talk very highly of this district. I think the computer display is the way to go.”
    Board member Mary Lou Dodson said her family has 40-50 members who have attended Springfield schools.
    “I have been on the board for 32 years and have loved every year. I enjoy looking at the pictures on the wall. I don’t have a closed mind, I am open to anything,” Dodson said.
    She added that she is concerned that citizens would not have a lot of access to the pictures if they were hanging in the new school.
    Rod Massey, a 1976 graduate, said his children and his parents graduated from the district.
    “Mr. Hess commented that they went through fiscal emergency without a levy and the treasurer’s report was presented with pride,” Massey said. “They are doing a good job. I would like to see them approach this with that same mindset.”
    Board member Cindy Collins is undecided about the issue and is still making a decision.
    “I am very proud of where I live, I would not live here if I wasn’t. We are listening and we will do what we think is best,” said Collins.
    Massey is determined to sway Collins into keeping the pictures in the school building.
    Page 3 of 3 - “The buildings are going to be gone. The only thing we will have left are those pictures,” Massey said. “Maybe it is a different perspective for you to consider. I am of the opinion that this issue is going to grow. I would say that you folks will be met with a growing sentiment about hanging the pictures.”