Tears, laughter accompany impromptu school reunion

Published On: Dec 06 2012 05:47:02 AM HST

Community members reminisced Wednesday about a school facing the wrecking ball. 

They shared many firsts – friends, kisses, loves – as students at Wayne School. For some students who attended the school in the late 1970s, they also dealt for the first time with death. 

The school librarian, secretary and about a half dozen other teachers and their families from the small Butler County farming town were killed in the May 28, 1977, fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club. 

"It was the main teachers; they had to close the school down," said Jim Conrad, who attended the school in the 1940s. 

The building will be torn down, and former students gathered at the front gates to time there. 

Much of the talk revolved around the fatal fire, but a rare find by excavators brightened their spirits. 

Workers found a time capsule placed in the ground in 1914, with all the students' names in that initial year – including a graduating class of one. 

"The first name listed, Shaffer Schenck, is my grandfather," said former student Mike Schenck. 

Memories of the tragic fire were replaced by laughter as the former students gather for one last time to remember their childhoods together.


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