It was a mixture of emotions Friday night as alumni of Tinora High School gathered to reminisce about the years in the current high school and junior high school buildings while having a chance to also see the progress of the adjacent high school and junior high school project to open in 2020.

All Tinora alumni were invited to the special walk-through of the current high school and junior high buildings, a brief program in the high school gym, and an opportunity to sign a steel beam and end cap to be used in the construction of the new high school and junior high school. The events, organized by the cheerleaders, took place prior to the last home game of the season against Hicksville. A taco tailgate also was held by the Spanish club to raise money for a trip to Costa Rica.

The program in the gym included the high school band playing the fight song. Superintendent Jim Roach spoke briefly, noting that the Tinora district is blessed and has many reasons to be thankful.

During an emotional moment, he noted that for 40 years he has cheered on the Rams and Friday’s game was his last home game as superintendent. He will be retiring in December. He was appreciative of the great turnout for the evening of nostalgia.

Roach said one of the things he has always told Tinora graduates is to keep their school in their hearts forever. He said there is something special about the years spent with classmates and memories of all the shared experiences. He encourages classes to have reunions and get-togethers when they can.

Roach also spoke of former elementary school teacher Dorothy Aldrich who wrote the alma mater, which was adopted by the Northeastern Local Board of Education in 1996. He was joined by four members of the high school choir — Courtney Cox, Kallie Derrow, Gavin Askins and Wyatt Fruth — to lead the singing of the alma mater.

Amidst the sentimental feel of the evening, there was also an excitement for what is to come with the new construction project underway. John Prokup, class of 1984, was at the beam signing with his wife and high school sweetheart, Jen Weber Prokup, class of 1985. John said it is “pretty exciting” to see the new buildings going up, adding that the current buildings look just like they always have.

Inside the buildings, groups of people were looking at the class photos on the walls or finding a favorite classroom.

There were chuckles over the styles of the times, and somber moments of those gone. Terry and Betty Penner found the photo from 1963 of the groundbreaking for the current high school. The ground was purchased from Nettie Westrick, who was shown in the photo. Betty also pointed out then superintendent Lloyd Iler and board members James Harper, John Hammond, Rudolph Helmke, Earl Behnfeldt and Joe Tanner.

Roach summed up the evening: “We will honor our past, and prepare for our future. From an old guy’s slant, never forget where you came from.”

On the front page: Northeastern Local Schools alumni took advantage of an invitation from school officials to sign an I-beam that will be placed in the district’s new junior high and high school building that is currently under construction. Priot to the Rams’ home football contest on Friday, alumni, from left, Mandy Craig, class of 2013, Amy Behrman Stafford and Scott Stafford, both class of 2008, and Beth Norden Behrman, class of 1982 sign their names on the beam. The beam signing and school walk-through took place before the last home football game of the season with Hicksville.

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