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Chesy schools#039; progress brings back memories

CHESAPEAKE - Classmates Carol Kilgore and Kermit and Dorothy Taylor feel like they are getting ready to say goodbye to an old friend.

All have fond memories of their days at Chesapeake High School, now the elementary school. With the building set to be demolished this summer, the 1957 graduates are reminiscing about their alma mater and the days when they were moving into the new high school.

"We moved in before the school was finished," said Kermit Taylor who was president of the graduating class of '57. "Some of the building was not finished so they hired some of us boys to help."

Kermit and Dorothy Taylor were members of the first class to graduate from the new Chesapeake High School in 1957. The new building had 23 rooms and cost about $410,000 to construct. At the time of the open house in October 1956, 310 students were enrolled.

It was an era when the worst crime that you could commit at school was chewing gum or talking in the hallways, the graduates said.

As Dorothy Taylor looked through the pages of her high school year book, she remembered some of the places they went as high school students. The Chesy Drive-In, where all the students hung out and talked after the football games and swimming at Riverside Pool are memories that have stuck with her.

"I've never seen a little village change so much," Dorothy Taylor said.

The class was also the first to take a senior trip. Kermit Taylor said that they went to Washington, D.C., by C&O train and raised money for the trip by having car washes and bake sales.

Classmate Carol Kilgore said she has, "warm memories of school days and teachers." The class had two homeroom teachers that they still remember fondly - Olive Keeney of Chesapeake and Eunice Siple of Ironton. Siple has passed away and Mrs. Keeney will be 99 years old in September.

"I visit her regularly," Kilgore said of Mrs. Keeney. "We are great friends."

Kilgore points out that she was the treasurer of the Class of 1957, and she is now the treasurer of the Chesapeake School District. She came to work for the district in 1980.

Kilgore said she remembers moving into the new school and thinking that it was huge, but looking back it wasn't as big as she had thought.

Anytime a landmark is torn down, it is sad, Kilgore said.

"That's just progress," Dorothy Taylor said. "We hate to see it torn down, but that's just progress."

The classmates seemed to agree that as much as they hate to see the building torn down, it is being done for a good reason - the education of the youth.

Chesapeake Elementary will be torn down this summer to make some much needed room for a parking lot that will service the Middle School and High School.

The new elementary school is also close to completion.

"The new buildings will be state-of-the-art," Kermit Taylor said.

Just like they were in 1957.