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Look Back ... to JHS students' interest in history, 1998


One of the most famous news photos of the 20th century made its appearance on the front page of The Star on May 8, 1937, two days after the disaster it depicts occurred.

May 8, 1948: The date fell on a Saturday during a 12-year period (1940-52) when The Star didn’t publish on that day of the week.

May 8, 1998, in The Star: Barbara Bennett, the Jacksonville High School English teacher in charge of 24 senior students’ research efforts to learn about their high school’s history, remembers some of it herself. For example, there was a day in 1953 when the school was taken over by communists during a drill of some sort. Lately, however, the students have been compiling old photographs, organizing interviews, assembling timelines, writing letters, poring over school board records and literally searching their 51-year-old school building — which is being replaced next fall by something more substantial. The old building, said Jacksonville historian Opal Lovett, had been built in a hurry in 1947 and wasn’t intended to last more than 75 years. Indeed, school officials had problems with the building from the beginning — not realizing they had built the school auditorium over an artesian well.