Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

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Letters to the Editor

February 8, 2012

Thoughts on Hitchins High School

Feb. 8, 2012 — The editor:

    Thank you so much for publishing concerns of certain alumnus of the former Hitchins High School.

    As promised, attached are the minutes of the Nov. 5, 2011 Board of Directors meeting where the HPS Board authorized me to take the necessary action to deed the Hitchins Preservation Society (HPS) property to the Carter Christian Academy (CCA), together with the preliminary balance sheet for 2011.

    The financial statement balance sheet is preliminary since we are waiting for final deposit report on the income received from entertainment events since Sept. through Dec. 31, 2011.

    During the years 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, there were volunteers who worked to raise money from various events and their efforts are greatly appreciated.

    In 2008 and 2009 we had our biggest fund raising at the County Fair Grounds and many ladies, including Karen Calhoun provided homemade baked goods for this event and also helped at the HPS booth along with other volunteers.

    As to the restoration of the class rooms, I can only recall the following who worked so hard in clearing out abandoned debris, swept and mopped floors with Iva and Doc Bradford washing and cleaning the blinds which now hand in some of the class rooms, library, and IPAC building. Some of those volunteers include: Georgie Johnson, Iva Bradford, Mrs. Porter, Louise and Donna Bond, Alice Isaacs, Donna Isaacs, Rella Duncan, Debbie Johnson along with several men. Glenda Bishop and her sister Ruth Cox, Louise, Rella and Iva cleaned the rooms is preparation for the Nov. Antiques and Craft Shows.

    As to the restoration of the class rooms, the real hard work of the replastering and painting the ceilings and walls, sanding, grinding, and refinishing the floors, I don’t recall any volunteer ladies or local men being part of that work or being on scaffolding and ladders.

    As to Charles Tolliver, I personally thanked him for the work he did on the lover classroom windows. I also presented Charles at a class reunion and reported on his volunteer service and received a round of applause. I recently saw Charles and he applauded the donation of the property to CCA as a positive step for the Hitchins School.

    Now, fast forwarding to 2010 and 2011 with the school restoration virtually finished and what happened in 2008, 2009, 2010 does not help us with the on-going upkeep and maintenance. Our concern was where do we go from here to maintain the completed restoration of the main school building. As everybody knows, the grass keeps growing during the summer and there is the continued maintenance of the building and grounds, and paying utilities and electric bills. Volunteers were hard to find. However, if it were not for volunteer missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the Olive Hill Branch, we could not have achieved what we did in the maintenance of the school building and grounds.

    Although my son Chilton was paid as a contractor in doing the renovation and construction work, he stayed on after other contractors left and worked long into the late evenings mowing the grass and doing the necessary janitorial work and maintenance in the upkeep of the building for while he received no pay.

    All the chairs that were donated to HPS will remain in the IPAC building, in good hands, for continued use to the performing arts and other scheduled events. To plan an activity in the IPAC building, Michael Hay of he Carter Christian Academy (CCA) will be in charge of reservations.

    With reference to the library books, volumes of book were donated directly to HPS from Morehead City by two ladies who rescued the books from the burn pile. Some books were also donated by individuals in the community. Iva Bradford, together with her daughter and granddaughter helped to unpack and organize the books on the shelves.

    I have been informed by CCA representatives that they have a retired librarian to manage and organize the library. She will be working to reorganize the library, combining CCA’s books and all those donated to HPS. Hopefully, the library will be set up professionally and ready to welcome and appreciate any alumni of the former Hitchins High School volunteer to work the library.

    Approximately $400,000 has been spent by the time the restoration work in the Hitchins High School is finished which includes the installation of heat and air conditioning and new windows. Approximately $50,000, plus or minus, of that amount was raised by a grant, IPAC evens, bucket brigade, donations from alumni and friends and families of the community. I venture say, this is more money than has been spent in the Hitchins’ area crossroads for commercial restoration since the brickyard and school was built, excluding the Heritage School which was built with state and county funds.

    I’m glad I had the opportunity to save this grand old historic school building, which played an important part in my early childhood. Positive comments have been overwhelmingly favorable aside from your printed letter of complaint. Thos who have spoken to me have said that this is a great improvement to the Hitchins community and Carter County as a whole. As many people have told me, that if I had not stepped forward at the auction in Sept. 2007, the property would have soon become a local dumping place.

    To those in the community who have supported our challenging efforts in restoring this historic school building that now is able to continue to be of service in developing and educating the youth for their future endeavors, we sincerely thank you and appreciate all the volunteer hours that you gave to HPS.

    Edward W. Isaacs

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