Thanks for the memories …

Albion Public School alumni photo shoot slated for May 5

This close-up image shows Janell Uhde Walker’s grandfather and his classmates.

ALBION — There’s an emotional connection many people have to the school of their youth. From 1915-1962, the Albion Public School educated hundreds of pupils, preparing them for the future. But with the school building being razed later in the year, its various alumni have taken steps to ensure its legacy.

“I, my parents, aunts, uncles, grandfather, and many ancestors went to Albion Public School. My grandmother was the head cook for a number of years, so my connection runs deep, as it does for many other residents and past students,” said Janell Uhde Walker of Altoona, who is planning a special alumni photo shoot to take place outside the school building on Saturday, May 5 at 4:15 p.m.

“Karen Davis Betts had the idea of having a photo taken in the yard of the school with former students and faculty members before it’s gone forever,” Walker said. “We will have 5×7 photos printed right there for people to buy, and I will also get prints made of the inside of the school.”

The old school building, which currently serves as the Albion Community Center, has been condemned for various safety and health hazards due to its age, and will be torn down sometime later this year.

“When I learned that the Albion School was going to be demolished, I went to the town council and asked to save some things to be used in the new community building, and save some items to be repurposed and sold as a fundraiser,” she said. “So far, we have doors and the curtain from the stage for us to repurpose and sell. I am going to make Christmas ornaments, and my mother is going to make pillows.”

These items will be made available for purchase at the May 5 event. Walker said other artifacts may be offered, depending on what else she is able to extract from the building.

As a way to stay connected with the school’s many former students, Walker created a Facebook group called “Albion School” that folks can join.

“We use this page to share photos and memories about the school. We also share what is going on in the Albion community,” she explained.

The Albion Public School (which served K-12) was constructed in 1915, with the last high school graduating class passing through its doors in the spring of 1962. Walker noted that from the fall of 1962 until 1981, the school was consolidated with Marshalltown students and operated solely as an elementary school. It then later became the community center, which is used for various social gatherings and events.

“The last kindergarten class graduated from Marshalltown High School in 1993. Finding everyone from 1963-93 is not going to be easy,” she said. “I just figured this was the last thing I could do for my parents and all of us kids who graduated from the school.”

Also on May 5, the Albion Municipal Library and Heritage Center, along with the Albion Alumni Association, will host joint garage sales on the premises of the library (near the old school building), to help raise funds for the new community center. A fundraiser meal and silent auction, open to the public, will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Albion Fire Station.

Walker is aided in these efforts by the Albion Betterment Committee and the Albion Community Task Force.

For more information, Walker may be reached at: 641-485-0712 or twowalkers@outlook.com

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at: 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com