Graduation ceremonies, now being conducted through new technology, are taking place at many high schools and colleges.

Looking back 40 years, to May 29, 1980, the story in the Morrow County Independent headlines the “First Outdoor Commencement held Sunday by Cardington-Lincoln High School.”

There were 96 seniors in that class, the first ever to receive diplomas during an outdoor ceremony which was held on the Merle Fisher Athletic Field at the high school site.

Presenting the top ten academic students was first year Principal Pat Drouhard who also presented the class. Annabelle Burggraf, president of the board of Education gave the diplomas. Supt Frank Perry awarded the diplomas. Cheryl Harris was salutatorian, David Thomas, Valedictorian; Robin Cooper, class president and Mary Ebert, student council president.

Scholarship winners included Julie Cole, Ebert, Harris, Thomas, Julie Ebert, Lori Gantz, Ronald Kaelber, Jeff Cummins, LeeAnne Heimlich, David Spires, Timothy Smith, Judy Weston, Michelle Albright, Pam Miller, Charlotte Winchell and Mickey Poorman. David Thomas received a plaque from the Mount Gilead Jaycees as the Most Outstanding Graduate.

Giving the Baccalaureate address was Rev. Walter Smith and Pastor Ron Abbott gave the Invocation and benediction.

Going back 35 years from 1980 to May, 1945, there were 31 members in that class. Elizabeth Davis was Valedictorian and Beulah Beatty was Salutatorian.

The Baccalaureate service preceded the Commencement program by one week, which was the tradition for many years. Master of Ceremonies was Clydelle Thomas, class president. Music was presented by Alice Crum, a brass quartet and a male quartet. J. C. Slack was superintendent, Guy Renz, president of the board of education; J. L. Patterson was principal.

Rev. Harry Eswine gave the invocation and benediction. Also speaking was class member Sanford Roach. JoAnne Curl, pianist, played the processional and recessional. This program was held in the gymnasium of the school on Nichols Street, today the site for grades pre school to fourth grade. That gym today is the school’s library.

I hope this brings fond memories for all who walked across that stage, received their diplomas and moved the tassels across their caps.

Ads in the Searchlight newspaper from where I took this story include Maxwell’s Market, People’s Food Shoppe, Kroger Grocery, Koon’s Grocery and Smiley’s Market, five grocery stores in Cardington in 1945.

70 years ago, May, 1950: A two-hour parking limit was enacted on Main, Marion and Second streets in the business district. JoAnn Westbrook was crowned Cardington High School May Queen.

60 years ago, May 1960: Dalene Carsner was elected head varsity cheerleader at Cardington for 1960-61 Other varsity cheerleaders were Shirleen Burggraf, Karen Denton and Judith McElroy. Reserve cheerleaders were Carmen Dennis, Dolores Ebert and Penny Russell.

Members of the Mount Gilead and Cardington boards of education held an informal discussion of school problems when they met in the office of the Mount Gilead Board of Education.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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