Memory of school makes some wish for its return SOUTHWEST -- Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

October 02, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

While South Carroll High School students and alumni celebrate their alma mater's silver anniversary this year, graduates of its predecessor, the old Mount Airy School, remember their student days fondly.

Talk of trying to resurrect the old school surfaced at the last town council meeting.

But a lack of cooperation among officials in Carroll and Frederick counties, which now educate Mount Airy students, has all but --ed the hopes of former Mount Airy School students who would like to see it happen.

Mount Airy sits between Carroll and Frederick, with parts stretching into Montgomery and Howard counties. "At one time, we had kids from all four counties," said Town Councilman William Wagner Jr., a 1958 graduate of Mount Airy School. "But by the time I graduated, we had strictly Frederick and Carroll county kids."

The school, which closed in 1967 after South Carroll High's completion, educated all of the town's children from kindergarten through grade 12.

It was split into elementary and high schools when Mount Airy Middle School was built in 1958.

Students from as far away as Damascus and New Market traveled daily to the brick schoolhouse under an agreement between the four counties.

Frederick County students began attending school in their home county when Linganore High was built, and other students moved to New Market Elementary, said Edwin Davis, Carroll's director of pupil services and special programs.

Only six Frederick County students still attend Carroll schools. Their home county pays $2,645 per year tuition for them.

Although Mount Airy School has been gone for 25 years, an active alumni association remains. It meets every September.

At the last gathering, which was held on Sept. 19, one graduate in attendance was Olive Mount, Class of 1914, said association member Travis Norwood.

"We meet once a year to renew old friendships and see people we haven't seen for a long while," said Mr. Norwood, a 1944 graduate. "Most everybody knew everybody else."

The issue of restoring a high school to Mount Airy pops up every once in a while. Councilman Wagner mentioned it as part of his campaign platform in 1988, and the issue surfaced last month during a discussion of community growth.

"I think a lot of people would like to see the school come back because of nostalgia, the good memories they have," said 1957 graduate Jean Knill.

Others say the school would enhance the sense of community.

"Each school is the center of a lot of community activities," said Teresa Bamberger, the town planner. "In high school, the activities are more visible, and it [the school] reaches out beyond the parents and children in the school to benefit the whole community."

Yet for some, the idea of students going to different schools and mingling for community functions is not all bad.

"It's been a positive thing for our children," said Mrs. Knill. "You have the best of both worlds. Being with people from other areas really helps you grow."

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