Saying goodbye

Graduates past, present and future had one more chance Thursday night to leave their mark on the 64-year-old Coupeville High School.

They painted their hands and placed a palm print on a second-story wall along with their names and the year they graduated, or for some, when they will graduate.

That was one of the ways people could say goodbye to their beloved building. Workers will demolish the high school this summer and students will attend the new one this fall that is presently under construction.

For some alumni, Thursday’s event was more than a chance to relive high school memories. They could also share time with family.

“It’s been nice spending it with my daughter,” said Pete Kelley, who graduated in 1977, as he wiped the paint from his hand. His daughter, Alyssa, is graduating next month and heading to Washington State University in the fall.

The farewell started in the Performing Arts Center where Mayor Nancy Conard emceed the event and shared her recollections of her years at the high school.

Rosie Walter, who was a music teacher in the 1960s, led the crowd in a rousing rendition of Coupeville’s fight song and cheerleading coach Sylvia Arnold led a pep rally by the decades.

Former teacher Mark Gale thanked the former teachers and administrators who attended the Thursday ceremony.

Current students also participated in the farewell event. The band performed, students produced a video about the high school, and Kyle King, who is a member of the first class that will graduate from the new school, spoke.

Alumni and students then toured the high school. Classrooms were dedicated to a specific decade where trophies and memorabilia were placed in the rooms to help remind graduates about their school days.

Several alumni showed up wearing their letter sweaters and many also perused the class pictures that line the walls on the school’s first floor.

People also had a chance to take a piece of the high school with them. They could buy bricks from the Booster Club that were part of the building that opened for classes in 1943.

A part of the old school will be included in the new school, so it won’t be entirely a memory. A round window located next to the entrance of the old gym, will be installed in the commons area of the new school and bricks will be part of the courtyard the workers will install after the high school comes down.

Students, staff and alumni will have one more chance to say goodbye to the old high school. It will be open for tours on Sunday, June 10 from 1 to 4 p.m.; and there will be a chance to reminisce about high school years during an All-Alumni Picnic scheduled for Aug. 12 at the Coupeville Town Park.

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