Raider group, schools to share in memorial
WARREN — The Warren Board of Education has approved moving forward with helping a committee of Warren Western Reserve High School graduates get the Raider Pride Project started near the Warren G. Harding High School facade.
Warren school officials met recently with representatives of the Raider Pride Project on how the two will share costs of the planned project. Officials hope to have it completed by fall 2022 — which marks the 50th anniversary of Warren Western Reserve High School’s state football title.
Mark Clawges of the Warren Western Reserve Memorial Committee and a 1968 graduate of the school, said it was more than 10 years ago when the idea of the project first was presented to the school board.
“We approached the board with the idea of having a lasting memorial to Warren Western Reserve High School. We want to move forward and successfully complete this project,” he said, noting the committee has been raising funds for the past decade.
Western Reserve opened in fall 1966 off Loveless Avenue SW, but was converted to a middle school in 1990 when the two city high schools were consolidated. It was torn down in 2010. Western Reserve had graduating classes from 1967 to 1990.
The location for its memorial would be between the former Harding High School facade (which is in front of the new Harding building) and the Warren G. Harding High School sign — with the memorial to face Elm Road. The location would be a small park setting with benches and a brick walkway near the corner of Elm Road and Atlantic Street.
Clawges said the project will include a monument and a bricked area, for which people can purchase bricks in honor or memory of someone. There will be landscaping with trees and benches. A sidewalk will lead from Elm Road to the monument.
The outline of the Warren Western Reserve school building, now demolished, will be made in the walkway and landscaping.
Clawges said he would like to see ground breaking later this year or early next year.
He noted the original plans included a 13- to 14-foot Western Reserve school mascot “Raider” statue, but because of societal changes the group decided against it.
“We talked about this and then voted to not have the Indian,” he said.
Clawges said the project may be more than $100,000, but school officials indicated it could be much less.
Warren Superintendent Steve Chiaro said the school district plans to cover the project aspects outside the marker area, such as the sidewalk, landscaping and electrical work.
He agreed with Clawges that school officials also want to see the project completed, though he noted project costs are still being reviewed so no total project cost is finalized.
Shool board member John Fowley said 10 years is long enough to wait and the project needs to move forward.
“Good things happen when you don’t give up,” said former school board member Bob Faulkner, who attended the school board meeting last week.
Faulkner was a board member when the project originally was presented.
Clawges said many graduates of Warren Western Reserve want to contribute, and many already have.
The committee wants to give those who were affiliated with the school a way to remember their alma mater, which they believe is an important part of Warren’s history, he said.
“We want to build a memorial to our high school for administrators, faculty who worked there and alumni who went there and want to remember the school,” Clawges said.
Various fundraising has been held at football games for the bricks people would like to place in different sections of the walkway.
Clawges said the bricks can be set anywhere on the outline of the school, which will be viewable when all the bricks are placed.
To help raise awareness for the project, the committee has had a booth the past several years at the annual Italian-American Heritage Festival in Warren. Raider memorabilia was displayed in the tent, including photographs, buttons, T-shirts and marching band CDs.
“We have been to class reunions to get donations and collect Raider memorabilia from the school. Anything we can do to raise money,” Clawges said.