George Highfill and Tracy Carson go over contents of a 100-year-old time capsule at Mason Central's celebration. / Tony Tribble for The Enquirer
Michael D. Clark reports:
That old high school spirit in Mason can still draw a crowd.
More than 400 Mason Central High alumni and their families and supporters of the Warren County high school, which opened 100 years ago, were part of a standing-room-only audience at Sunday afternoon’s centennial celebration of the school.
Classmates from the middle of the last century greeted one another and shared memories in the gymnasium of the high school that opened in 1911.
The overflow crowd was no surprise to Mason grad Sallie Nally, a descendent of American Revolutionary War veteran William Mason, who later founded the once tiny farm community in southwest Warren County.
“This says that people are still passionate about Mason,” said Nally as she surveyed the crowd, which included people standing two-deep along the gym’s walls.
“There is a sense of community here and a love of hometown,” she said.
As part of the celebration event, a time capsule within a cornerstone of the former high school – now the school system’s central office – was removed from the front of the building. The copper box inside it was cut open as the crowd watched. First installed during the high school’s opening in 1911, the time capsule contained documents including a copy of a local newspaper from 1911 and letters about the school to future generations.
Bill Whalen was born the same year the school building was dedicated and the 100-year-old alum was the oldest among many graduates who earned their diplomas during the early and middle part of the last century.
Dressed in suit and tie and sporting a green and white Mason Schools ball cap, Whalen’s introduction drew a standing ovation.
Once a tiny rural community, in the last 50 years Mason has grown into a prosperous and popular suburban community with a school system whose enrollment of 11,000 is now one of the largest in Southwest Ohio.
The school district’s state academic ranking is regularly among the top 10 of Ohio’s 613 public school systems.
Almost 90 years separate Mason High School freshman Anna Honerlaw from Whalen, but they both shared pride in being part of a centennial celebration.
“I’m impressed,” said the 14-year-old student. “This really shows the dedication of a lot of people and how much they care about Mason.”
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