Saying goodbye

Bethany Bergschneider, Editor

Bittersweet. That’s the word Kathy Kiefner, who taught at Alexander from 1995-2016, used to describe the closing.

“It’s sad because I really enjoy the building with the teachers and the memories I have here, but it’s progress, and I think moving over to Franklin is smart.”

Alexander Grade School will be closing at the end of this school year; currently, it doesn’t comply with handicap accessibility regulations. As a result, the decision was made to close it and build a new elementary school in Franklin rather than to make the $250,000 investment needed to make the building compliant.

Alexander School opened in 1917, functioning as an elementary and high school until around 1948, when it consolidated with Franklin to send high school students there. In 1971, Alexander fully consolidated with Franklin and has been used as an elementary school as part of CUSD #1 since then.

For many past students and staff, walking through the building at an open house event on May 6 was a blast from the past.

Joanne Beard, formerly Kaiser, attended Alexander beginning in 1967 from first grade to eighth grade—except for her fifth grade year, which she spent at Franklin. “We walk in and look at all these things, and we’re just like, ‘Here’s where the teacher sat, here’s where our desks were, and here’s where we sat at lunch.’ It’s just so funny to see everything again.”

Danny Kindred graduated eighth grade at Alexander in 1966 and hasn’t been back to the school since. “I just wanted to come back and see the old school, see if I run across any old memories or friends.” One might think that the school would look different than it did half a century ago, but according to Kindred, that isn’t the case. “It really hasn’t changed all that much. It just seems a lot smaller.”

Marty Wright worked at Alexander as a playground monitor, directed the summer and after-school programs, and assisted special education kids in her 27 years there before retiring in 2007. “It’s not one bit different. There’s a banner in here that says ‘Be a good friend’ and I remember putting that up.”

Nostalgia wasn’t the only thing going on at the event. There were raffle baskets, some of which were donated by the Alexander students, displays of photos looking back on the school’s history, and refreshments. Current and former teachers, staff, and administration in attendance were also recognized.