Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

August 27, 2013

History in the hall

Catlettsburg PTO gathers, displays memorabilia

Mike James
The Independent

CATLETTSBURG — A walk down the hallway at Catlettsburg Elementary School is a stroll through the rich history of what started out as Catlettsburg High School in the 1950s.

Members of the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization have been busy since early July collecting, organizing and putting on display artifacts and pictures dating to 1956.

They are mounting the items in the space where rows of lockers used to line the hall and are completing work on showcases to enclose them for posterity.

In the process they painted doors, added a new logo in the front lobby and generally spruced up. “We gave the school a face lift,” said PTO vice president Joe Gilbert, who has overseen most of the work.

On one side of the hall are class portraits that span the era when the building was a high school, from 1956 to 1974. The picture from the class of 1964 is missing, but organizers of the exhibit are hoping it will turn up.

On the other side is memorabilia donated or lent by alumni. For example, Joe Childers, class of 1973, provided his letter jacket and Gail Sammons handed over her cheerleadering megaphone from the class of 1962.

There is a wooden baseball bat dating from the 1940s that would have been used at Thomas R. Brown High, which preceded Catlettsburg. Perhaps the oldest item, which arrived by mail Tuesday, is a 1915 diploma.

They are hoping to acquire a football from the class of 1957, which was the last year Catlettsburg beat the Ashland Tomcats in that sport.

Along with the collection, organizers are creating a scholarship to be awarded each year to a Boyd County High School graduate who also attended Catlettsburg Elementary.

The collection will be unveiled at 5 p.m. Saturday in a public ceremony at which they will also name the first two members of what is to be a Catlettsburg Hall of Fame.

Two more members will be added each year, Gilbert said.

The items also will be on public view during the Gate City’s annual Labor Day celebration Monday, when the school will host the 3-on-3 “Battle of the Burg” basketball tournament.

The school also will have a float in the Labor Day parade and a booth near the courthouse, said Principal Marcy Prater. On sale will be raffle tickets for items including a UK basket. Proceeds will defray the cost of the exhibit and help fund the scholarship, Prater said.

Although none of them were born when their building was a high school, Catlettsburg pupils are intrigued by the exhibit in its development stages and have been asking questions about it, Prater said.

“I think they are as excited as everybody else. It’s important to let them know the history within the walls of this school,” she said.

Other Catlettsburg alumni with items they wish to donate or lend may call the school to make arrangements.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.