Roann School memorial unveiled at ceremony

Former Roann teachers from left Sharon Butcher, Mike Chenault, Jan Saner and Janet Clevenger unveil the center court display from the Roann School. Photo by Joseph Slacian 

By Joseph Slacian

ROANN – About 40 people were on hand Saturday, Sept. 8, as four former Roann School teachers cut the ribbon and unveiled the school’s center court memorial on the wall of the Roann Town Hall.

Teachers Janet Clevenger, Sharon Butcher, Jan Saner and Mike Chenault took turns cutting a red ribbon on the paper covering the memorial. They then pulled down the paper, unveiling the floor to the applause of those present.

The crowd began gathering about 30 minutes before the 3 p.m. unveiling ceremony, looking through various class photos from the elementary school years of the school.

In a brief ceremony before the unveiling, Roann Clerk-Treasurer Bob Ferguson showed a copy of the 1962 Ro-annual, the yearbook from the last year a graduating class attended the school, which had been donated to the town.

“The editor had enough foresight, because it was the last year, to put a photo of every graduating class from Roann, all the way back to 1884,” he said. “Her name was Effie Hoffman, and it has a picture of Effie in the back, along with her diploma. And then it has every single (class).”

School annuals are not a permanent record, Ferguson noted. So, he contacted the officials at the Indiana Archives and Records Administration and learned that, as clerk, he could make it a permanent record.

He then read a proclamation making it a permanent record and the book will be kept in the town’s files, available for viewing by the public.

Ferguson then explained how Craig Barker removed the floor from the old gymnasium and Furniture Medic of Mentone refurbished the floor and put it back together piece by piece, much like a jigsaw puzzle. The flooring was then hung on the wall supported by brackets made by Nomanco Trailer.

He then called the former Roann teachers to the front to participate in the unveiling.

“You just can’t beat the small town school,” Chenault said. “You know the parents; they know you. People would come in and say, ‘If my kids get in trouble you straighten them out.’”

Following the ribbon cutting, Ferguson presented the teachers keychains made from pieces of the floor. When Barker cut the flooring out, he added about a foot all around so the wood could be tested to see what was the best way to clean it. The keychains were made from pieces of the extra wood.

All the teachers said they were honored to be able to participate in the unveiling, and seeing the center court brought back good memories.

“I was proud of everything that happened in that school,” Chenault said.

Butcher added, “They did such a good job (restoring the floor).”

Clevenger said getting a piece of the flooring was special.

“As an elementary school student, my dad graduated from Roann so he brought me to a lot of Roann basketball games,” she said, “so I saw a lot of cheerleaders out there. I thought they were just top notch. When I had kids in kindergarten, all the indoor recesses we had and all the programs (were in the gym).

Saner said many of the programs had Disney-related themes.

“We did a lot of Christmas programs, spring programs which were Disney related,” she said. “We just loved being there.”

“It was just a family there,” Clevenger said.

Saner added, “And we’re still family.”

Posted on 2018 Sep 11