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Kickin’ it Old School

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Classmates reunite to remember New Liberty School

By Brian Blair

It had been in the planning for months. The idea was to bring together as many people as possible who attended New Liberty School whether they graduated or not.

On Oct. 18 at The Pines restaurant in Madison, Ind., former students gathered to celebrate and reminisce about the school that served the New Liberty area from 1908 to 1951.

Four people spearheaded the efforts to make the reunion possible. Mary Lou Williams Hall (1951), Schirmer Riley (1946), Virginia Thompson Williams (1941) and Nancy Williams Perkins spent hours preparing for the big night.

“I first thought about having a reunion for the last four graduating classes,” said Hall, who now owns The Pines. She then realized how small some of those graduating classes had been through the years and wanted to expand the gathering.

“I wanted a big party,” said Hall.

Hall got her wish as approximately 115 people turned out. “I was hoping for 50 to 75,” said Hall, who went on to say that the only way the event was publicized was through ads in the News-Herald and word-of-mouth.

The first graduating class was in 1908 and had one graduate, Garvey Kemper. The final class was in 1951 and had 19 members. The largest class to graduate from New Liberty came in 1948 when 23 students received diplomas.

Many classes were represented on the night including Evelyn Brock and Bertha Lee Cummins who both graduated in 1933.

The school served kids from New Liberty, Wheatley, Long Ridge and Sanders.

Perkins and Hall said the basketball games rank among their favorite memories.

Hall said she remembers many nights with standing-room-only crowds in the small gym that only had bleachers on one side. She said many of the teams were not very good but it was always fun to go to the games.

“We always had a packed gym,” said Perkins, who only attended the school one year before heading to the new Owen County High School that opened after the 1950-51 school year.

Bernie Poe attended the reunion. Like Perkins, he attended the school only one year before heading off to the new school in Owenton.

Poe was complimentary of Hall and the others who put the night together.

“She had it well organized,” said Poe. He said that when you get a group like that together, there is not much need for entertainment.

“They have a way of entertaining themselves,” Poe said.

Poe said the chance to get together with former classmates was well worth it.

“It was quite a treat. It brought back a lot of memories.” Poe said