Students will be greeted Tuesday by messages from alumni who walked the halls of Girard High School during its 86-year history.
Every classroom's chalkboard is filled with signatures from the nearly 400 people who attended Sunday's final walk-through of the Ward Avenue high school before it is demolished this summer. Some former students used the chalkboards to say hello to teachers who are still there, while others simply wrote their name and the year they graduated.
"The students will be in for a special treat when they see signatures from students who graduated in the 1940s," said Virginia Leskovec David, who graduated in 1944.
Dorothy Sagan LaGuardia, Girard High School Class of 1944, flips through some old yearbooks during a final walk through of the high school held May 30. LaGuardia’s daughter, Cathy Wirtz, is a 1977 graduate of Ursuline High School.
She was at Sunday's walk-through with her daughter and son-in-law, Karen and Keith Williams, who both graduated from Girard High School in 1975. The couple dated for four months their senior year and attended prom together, but lost touch after graduation. They reconnected through mutual friends 10 years ago and married in 2002. They now live in Falcon, Colo., a suburb of Colorado Springs.
"High school was definitely the best years of my life. I can't believe it's been 35 years since I was here," Karen Williams said.
Her mom said she does not think the school should be torn down. Williams said she thinks some of the building should be incorporated into the new junior/senior high school on Shannon Road.
"It's sad to see it go, but that's progress," Keith Williams said.
David's former classmate, Dorothy Sagan LaGuardia, said the high school, which was built in 1924, had no cafeteria when she was a student, and everyone was required to go home for lunch.
"I would walk to my house on Howard Street and barely have enough time to eat before I had to head back for afternoon classes," LaGuardia said.
She and her daughter were looking through old yearbooks in the current cafeteria.
"There was no yearbook the year we graduated because of the paper shortage during World War II," LaGuardia said. "Some of the boys from my class were going to enlist right after graduation."
She also recalled the girls only wearing skirts to school.
"We never wore slacks," she said, pointing at the yearbook pictures showing girls in skirts for every photo.
Paulette Midlick Mahon, a 1977 Girard graduate, said she came to Sunday's walk-through to see her alma mater one last time. She said her fondest memories were selling programs at the football games.
Her sister, Sophia Midlick Kramer, graduated in 1985 and also remembers going to football games. Their brother, Paul Midlick, graduated in 1986 and another sister, Phyllis Midlick Riley, was the first sibling to graduate in 1972.
Their mother, Philomena Pizzulo Midlick, graduated in 1947. She was the sixth of seven Pizzulo siblings to graduate from Girard and the youngest girl. She died in 1994.
Mahon and Kramer could not remember what year their mom graduated until they found her picture in a yearbook.
"Everyone called her Tootsie. We don't know why, but it looks like everyone had a nickname back then," Mahon said while flipping through pages.
The new school will house students in grades seven through 12 and is being built with $20 million from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission. Residents are paying $9 million of the cost, or about 20 percent, through a 28-year bond issue passed in 2007.
The new school will have 21st-century technology, 900-square-foot classrooms, two gyms and separate wings and entrances for junior and senior high students, a common cafetorium, a modern media center and larger science labs.