By LINDA MESSMER
Times Staff Writer
It seemed the storms took a hiatus just for the joyful Staunton High School alumni. The sky was sunny and clear at the 6 p.m. dedication ceremony for the Staunton High School Memorial on Saturday. An enthusiastic Pledge of Allegiance was delivered by a crowd of more than 200. The monument sits on the original site of the old high school.
Rob Moore presented a new American flag to Troop #141 Webelo Scouts, Joel Whittington and Robert Munoz, who raised the flag.
Master of Ceremonies, Herb Galbraith, explained how the funding for the memorial came about.
"When the idea came up, over a year ago, Pauline Joslin thought of some fund raisers. She sold candy in the gym during lunch hours. Then she came up with the idea of selling potholders and considered having a Longaberger basket bingo. I could see me walking around with a basket full of potholders and candy," Galbraith laughed.
The Memorial Committee, with co-chairs J.D. Burk and Tony Trout, thought it might be easier to ask the Alumni Association if they would contribute. The alumni came through. They donated enough to totally fund the project and even had extra to put in the Staunton High School Alumni Memorial Scholarship Fund. Northview High School seniors Jordan Brown and Dara Orman were this year's winners.
The monument is part of the original facade from the old Staunton High School except for a few missing pieces that had to be reconstructed. It was assembled by two local masons and their sons. Dale Payton, a 1967 Staunton graduate, was assisted by son Greg. Bernie Nicklasch, whose wife, Sally, was a 1972 grad, was helped by their son Mark.
A lot of reminiscing was done after the presentation. Carson Trout's mother, Florence Trout, was unable to attend. But, according to daughter-in-law, Marilyn, the 99-year-old Florence is the oldest living Staunton Elementary School teacher. She taught for more than 30 years at the school.
Judy Timberman recalled being a cheerleader her senior year in 1961. Her future husband, Terry, played varsity sports at the time.
"He played basketball for the Yellow Jackets and I cheered him on. It was a lot of fun to do that," Judy said.
Many of the former cheer leaders were present at the dedication. Caroline McCullough, J. D. Burk, Phyllis Brown, Judy Timberman, Bobbie Thomas and Jane Lee Johnson came front and center. They led the crowd in the school song then gave a rousing Yellow Jacket cheer.
The former pupils left the Memorial site to attend the Alumni banquet held in the elementary gym. It was evident that most took with them the words from the opening prayer given by 1940 graduate, Anna Mae Swearingen: "This monument represents many wonderful years of learning and higher education to all the students who attended Staunton High School. ...They taught us to love God, our beloved country in which we live and one another that we might live fruitful lives. We thank you for our many memories here and ask that you would accept our dedication of our lives as we remember, with love, Staunton High School."