As many readers will know, the Wellston School District ceased to exist at the end of the 2009-2010 school year. Because Wellston schools had lost state accreditation in 2003 and were struggling with infrastructure problems, the state board of education made the decision to merge Wellston schools with nearby Normandy School District, home of Wellston’s athletic arch-rivals.
KWMU reported on Wellston schools’ preparation for permanent shutdown. The St. Louis Beacon published a feature story on the final Wellston high school commencement. STLtoday, the online version of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, focused on the first day of the 2010-2011 school year, as did KSDK in this video report.
Though the first day of the merger went smoothly, Wellston alums and students mourned the passing of Wellston schools, particularly the role of the high school. Built in 1940 and located at Wells and Evergreen, Wellston High School was a beauty of a school – and enthusiastic alumni still reminiscence fondly about their years at the school. Wellston High School closed in 1962, replaced by a new high school with a new name: Halter High. In 1979, the school was renamed Eskridge High. You can learn more about the history of the high school by visiting The Flashlight, the alumni newsletter.
On April 9, 2010, the last graduating class – the seniors from 2010 – hosted a “social” for alums from 1942 through 1969. KSDK featured a lively report on the gathering: “As Wellston nears closing, Alumni Return for Get Together.” In the interest of full disclosure, I should report that one of the featured alums – Louise Landsbury Overbey – is my aunt. (Hi, Louise!) Louise summed up everyone’s feelings when she said, “I look around and think, wow, ‘What’s going to happen to this building?’”
In commemoration of Wellston High School, construction company owner (and family friend) Ben F. Blanton ’56 is spearheading a full scholarship to Lindenwood College for a Wellston or Hillsdale student.
To trip down memory lane with former Wellston students, visit The Flashlight, the online alumni newsletter. (Note: The link will take you to a directory of Flashlight newsletters.)
Next week: Eskridge High School students document the history of Wellston schools, tell the story of the Wellston community and reflect on daily life in Wellston today.
Tags: Alumni Reunion, Ben F. Blanton, Eskridge High School, Halter High School, Louise Landsbury Overbey, Normandy School District, School Merger, The Flashlight, Wellston, Wellston High School, Wellston School District