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Greensburg class photos find new home

5/16/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

The identification sign for Kleckner Elementaryn was removed from the building recently and hung in the Green High School senior lunchroom.
Green Superintendent Mike Nutter, at left, and alumnus Al Courtney are shown below photos of the graduating classes from 1933 to 1956 that now hang in the senior lunchroom at Green High School.
Photo: Maria Lindsay
GREEN — After more than one year in storage, the photos of Greensburg High School classes of 1933 through 1956 have a new home, thanks to the efforts of an alumnus and Green Local Schools Superintendent Mike Nutter.

Nutter and Al Courtney, who graduated in 1949, unveiled the new home of those graduating class pictures that once hung in the halls of Kleckner Elementary School May 9. Kleckner was once Greensburg High School.

Nutter said the pictures were taken down and moved into storage at the Administration Building shortly after Kleckner was closed in June 2011 and students were moved to Green Primary and Intermediate schools. Most of the contents of the building were auctioned off, but historic items were saved. He said Kleckner is scheduled for demolition “when funds become available.” The building and property are still owned by the district.

“People are always asking what happened to those graduating class pictures,” said Nutter. “We wanted to put the pictures where people could see them, and since many alumni functions are held at Green High school, it was a logical choice to move them here.”

Nutter said the Class of 1952 alumni dinner in the commons area last summer was among the first to see the pictures. The pictures do not include the graduating classes of 1927 to 1932, and Courtney said he believes none were taken. One of earliest and the smallest graduating class pictures has only 15 students.

Courtney said that while the photos were hung in the high school senior lunchroom last summer, the memorial tribute was not complete until the silver “John Kleckner Elementary School” sign was removed from the building and also hung in that room recently.

“The primary goal in moving the photos and hanging the old school sign in this room is to pay tribute to that building, the community and the school system, as well as its principal, John Kleckner,” said Courtney. “These pictures are a way for our high school and community to pay respect and honor, or to just remember, all our graduates. They are also very important to our children, grandchildren and extended family as they pass through our schools.”

Courtney and Nutter shared some facts about Kleckner Elementary and schooling in Green, making reference to “Our Heritage, Our Home,” written by Judy Christy.

Schooling began in Green informally in private homes in 1816, and the first school building was built around 1840 on Greensburg Road just east of Massillon Road. It is still standing there.

Courtney said the middle section of Kleckner Elementary was constructed first in 1927 as Greensburg High School. The left side was added in 1939, and the right side was constructed in 1946 to replace a nearby building destroyed by fire.

Kleckner served as the building principal for 40 years, from 1941 to 1981, and the building was renamed in his honor when he retired, according to district officials.

Even though Greensburg High School became an elementary school in 1957, the pictures of the graduating classes remained hanging on a basement wall next to where the administrative offices were once located. Pictures of the graduating classes (1957 through 1996) of Green High School (what is now the Intermediate School) also hang in the original building those students attended.

Courtney said he has a lot of memories about Greensburg High School and fondly remembers Principal Kleckner. Rehanging the Greensburg High School graduating class pictures was a way to make sure everyone else remembers both, he said.

Anyone wanting to see the pictures is welcome to visit the high school, where an escort will lead them to the senior lunchroom, according to district officials.

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