Aug 04, 2015 09:27AM ● Published by Bryan Scott
Hillcrest Junior High
By Alisha Soeken
In 1911, the same year Ronald Reagan was born, the groundbreaking for Fenway Park began, there were only 46 stars on the American flag, and Hillcrest School, now Hillcrest Junior High, was built in Murray City. And on June 24, 2015, residents and past students were given one last chance to walk its halls before pre-demolition efforts began.
Among the visitors was Allison Cheshire Day. Day grew up the youngest of nine and attended Hillcrest from 1990-1993. “I remember everything was great; I had good teachers and a great experience. I don’t know if all kids do or not, but I did. I learned a lot and was happy there.” Day played the clarinet in the band and enjoyed performing and being on stage. She was grateful to walk through her school one last time and said, “I’m excited to find the old economics room and try and find where my lockers once were.”
Christina Ogrin and her sister Kathleen Ogrin also came to walk the familiar halls before demolition. Both played basketball and ran track while at school. “It’s fun to come back and remember your whole experience. Being in the halls and classrooms and remembering my teachers is kind of cool,” Christina said.
A school building is not only bricks and long halls: it is childhood memories that feel as real today as when you lived them. It’s the history of people in a place that for a short time you called home. As diverse as our school experiences can be, we all have the building in common.
The Hillcrest building stood for over a century, and halfway into its life Brad Freeze walked a mile each morning to attend it. Freeze was a student from 1963-1965. “I had a lot of fun playing basketball here. I got into trouble a little bit and made lots of good friends,” Freeze said. His father, Jim Freeze, also attended Hillcrest back when it was Murray High School. “My father is 93 years old, and when he went to Murray High he was the class president for five years straight,” Freeze said.
As you watch people walk through the empty classrooms and hallways, you realize that monuments matter. This structure stood faithfully for 104 years and housed countless students and teachers, who on this last walk through find it hard to say goodbye.
But, as an apple tree will once again produce fruit after a transplant, so shall Hillcrest Jr. High. Ground was broken for the new building east of the original site, and students will attend at the beginning of the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.
Visitors’ memories awaken, and after they finish walking the halls, taking pictures and recalling old friends and teachers, they leave through the wide front doors onto pavement that will soon be gone. Handprints of past students were made permanent in that cement and, though they may be torn down, the structure and those who loved it left an imprint that will last forever.