Past and present blend nicely at renovated school


September 23, 2001|By Christina Bittner | Christina Bittner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT'S SAID that people from the Baltimore area tend to hang on to the past or, at the least, are slow to accept change. Maybe it's just our way of trying to hold on to whatever is left of our youth.

This was the situation last year when the much-anticipated Brooklyn Park Middle School opened in the building once occupied by Brooklyn Park High School, which no longer exists. The middle school's principal, Brenda Hurbanis, knew that the high school's alumni wanted everything to remain the same.

But she realized that, despite the need to remember, it was time for the new school to move forward. She and the middle school's student representatives worked together to ensure that the new school had an identity separate from the high school.

Hurbanis also knew that there is value in remembering the past. So the memory of Brooklyn Park High School is commemorated in an "Honoring the Past" exhibit in the school's east lobby.

On display is the original brass plate that the county installed at the front entrance in 1954, the bee mascot from the gymnasium floor and a display case full of memorabilia from Brooklyn Park High alumni.

Preserving the bee was no problem, Hurbanis said.

"Once we realized that the floor had to be replaced, it wasn't very difficult," she said.

Storing it, mounting it and framing it was a different story. "Fortunately," she said, "there was an extra trailer here that we used. It was hard to keep an eye on it and make sure that it wasn't thrown out. We put Plexiglas on it to protect it."

Members of the high school's alumni association lent photos, yearbooks, school newspapers, athletic uniforms, homecoming pins, trophies and prom favors for the display.

"It's really brought the lobby together," Hurbanis said. "On back-to-school night, it created a tremendous amount of traffic and excitement. There would be a group of parents standing around looking at it, saying that they remembered this or had one of those. Some mentioned that they had an item that they would want to donate to the display."

Middle school parent and high school alumna Karen Moore said the display made her feel "fortunate to still be a part of Brooklyn Park history."

Anyone interested in viewing the display may visit the school between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Visitors should come to the office to pick up a pass. Staff members will then provide directions to the east lobby.

Now, when Hurbanis comes to work, she has the best of both worlds: a new, state-of-the-art school and a long tradition of school spirit and learning.

She also has a little reminder of all this on her desk. On back-to-school night, the high school alumni association presented her with a Beanie Baby parrot dressed in a bee costume.

"I was so tickled, it's so original and creative and persistent. They just didn't give up. It was a creative way to say that the Bees are still around," she said.

Jillian at Church on the Rock

Recording artist and former fashion model Jillian will present a performance based on her life story at 7 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at Church on the Rock, 900 Church St. in Brooklyn Park.

The performance will tell the story of how she survived living in 12 foster homes before being adopted at age 8.

The performance will feature music by Jillian, Boys II Men and Survivor.

Admission is free. Information: 410-355-5922.

North County recreation

A new session of fall programs will begin during the first week of next month at North County Recreation Center, 196 Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park.

Students in "Old Time Crafting" will learn about candle and soap making, paper crafting and knot tying. Other classes include quilting, crochet and knitting.

Information: 410-222-0036.

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