EVER SINCE Brooklyn Park High School closed its doors in 1990, its alumni have felt that a piece of their history has been taken. As renovations on the old building progress, the exterior becomes less and less familiar to the thousands of Brooklyn Parkers who passed through its doors from 1954 to 1990.
The new middle school and Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts to be housed there will be welcome assets to the community, but the strength of nostalgia lingers.
Two years ago, the Old Brooklyn Park Improvement Association sponsored an open house to give everyone a last chance the view the building before renovations. More than 700 alumni and friends took advantage of this opportunity to renew acquaintances and reminisce.
Questions about "what happened to..." were heard over and over that day. "What happened to the murals? What happened to the stage extensions?"
Then and now, no one seems to know.
Brenda Hurbanis, principal of the new Brooklyn Park Middle School, sensed the alumni's need to remember the past, and when she saw an opportunity to honor the past while building for the future, she seized it.
Recently, a construction crew was working on the gymnasium area and it was noted that the floor still displayed the Brooklyn Park Bee logo. Hurbanis arranged for the Bee to be cut out and preserved.
It will become part of a permanent "Honoring the Past" display of Brooklyn Park High memorabilia.
The display will be near a secondary entrance to the building, which had been the main entrance to the old high school, Hurbanis noted.
Anyone who walks down the main hall that connects the Chesapeake Theater or the county offices to the middle school will be able to see the display. Hurbanis said she will work with the architects to construct a display case and mount the Bee in a fitting tribute.
Hurbanis said that she has seen this type of display in other schools and wanted to do the same thing in Brooklyn Park.
"I've seen this done at Kent Island High School. They have a showcase with old pictures in it. It was important to save it," she said.
"Many times we don't make the connection to the past. But we hope to have alumni days to honor the past where alumni can talk about what it was like to go the school back then."
Alumni and friends are welcome to contribute items for the display.
Perhaps someone somewhere has an old sports jersey or stage props that he or she would like to donate. Maybe a copy of the school newspaper, the Beeline, or literary magazine Reflections that is gathering dust in a basement or garage.
Memorabilia are not the only items on the wish list.
The Brooklyn Park High School Alumni Association is working with Hurbanis and hopes to prepare a history of the school. Stories and recollections from alumni, faculty and staff are welcome.
If you remember what you experienced on your first day at the high school, or what it was like to sit in the pouring rain at a football game, let's hear about it. The statute of limitations on senior hook day has expired, so you can talk about that, too!
Send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 410-636-3269or 410-789-7214.
Class of '75
Brooklyn Park High School's Class of 1975 has scheduled its 25-year reunion for the night of Sept. 8 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.
Class spokesman Colleen Vokroy-Badger said it has always had successful reunions.
"We get more people coming each year. At our 20th reunion we had 160 people attend."
The reunion will feature a bull roast and shrimp feast menu, beer and music by a DJ. Tickets are $35; deadline for reservations is June 17.
Information: Badger, 410-789-5270or Kathy Tucker-Feeley, 410-757-9694.
Senior dance steps
Area seniors have two opportunities each week to learn the latest line-dance steps.
Classes are held at 9:30 a.m. every Friday at the Brooklyn Park Nutrition Site at 5503A Ritchie Highway, and at 9:45 a.m. every Monday at the Morris Hills Nutrition Site, 351 Arundel Corp. Road. All county seniors are welcome.