Superintendent of Perry Township Schools
If you graduated from Southport High School or know someone who has graduated from there, you understand the passion and the excitement that is generated when talking about the history of this phenomenal educational institution.
Wikipedia estimates that 50,000-plus people have graduated from the school since its establishment in 1894. That probably is not an exaggeration.
I truly enjoy history and tracing back in time the special events that brought us to the Perry Township of today. For example, SHS has been remodeled and added additional classroom space on many occasions. In each instance, growth on the Southside necessitated the addition of classrooms. Growth, even today, continues to be a wonderful challenge to have on our plates. The township is well respected for its educational opportunities and continues to attract families.
I recently was extended the opportunity to attend several functions organized by the Southport Alumni Association in celebration of the Class of 1965, which had between 700 and 800 graduates. The joy in their hearts when a particular class member would recognize another was so rewarding. They may have not seen one another for 50 years but they hugged and entered into a conversation just as if they had graduated last year.
The day began with a reception at the Education Center, which also serves as the Administration Building. When this particular class was in school, the facility served as the junior high for seventh- and eighth-graders.
Everyone raved about the SHS alumni commemorative room, which is housed in the center. The room is filled with donated treasures from graduates who wanted to preserve school history. If you have not had the opportunity to visit the area, please feel free to stop by.
Many people spent tireless hours in organizing the room, people like Georgia Stumpf, Cindy Bertram, Ruth Mercer, Steve Harnedy, Jay Danner, Cheryl Mead, Billie Seyfried and Barry Browning to name a few. They continually make improvements to an already outstanding historical reference point.
After touring the center the class visited its renovated alma mater and its new science labs and classroom and historic Southport Fieldhouse. The alumni were pleased that the ramps that once had dominated the halls were now gone. New lockers had been installed and replaced some of the original lockers.
A memorial service followed at Nick Stanley’s rose garden. This was a perfect setting for a touching ceremony that honored those 1965 graduates who had died. Fond memories of a school experience second to none were shared throughout the time together.
The heart of Perry Township resides within the thousands of graduates who have either chosen to make their home here or who simply return for a walk down memory lane. It was an honor to be able to take some time and listen to the events and stories that had shaped the township and its educational program.