School alumni organize
first reunion for old schoolhouse
as a grade school in 1963
Helen E. McKinney
ENGLISH, Ky. (October 2009) Allen Doll has
fond memories of attending school in English, Ky., and being taught
by Kentucky legislative member Roy Searcy. Searcy would sometimes take
his eighth-grade government class to work with him in Frankfort so they
could experience first-hand how government works. This was a fascinating
field-trip that made a big impression on a student in 1952.
by Shelli Ratcliff
Doll is among the organizers
of the first English School
reunion, set for Oct. 3.
Doll, 71, attended the English School from April 1946
until May 1952. He has many special memories of the school that housed
grades first through eighth, such as the time he played basketball for
the varsity team. In one particular game, the score was 10-12, and Doll
scored six of his teams 10 points.
Another teacher Doll vividly remembers is his third and fourth grade
teacher, Hattie Jackson. He had to be on his best behavior in her class
because she was also his Sunday School teacher.
Memories such as this will be relived when a school-wide reunion is
held for the English School on Oct. 3 beginning at 9 a.m. on the school
grounds, located in English. The site is one mile off off I-71 at Exit
43. Attendees are asked to bring photos, graduation programs, autograph
books and any memorabilia reminiscent of their time spent at the schoolhouse
to share with others who attend the reunion.
We are dedicating a portion of the day for stories and remembrances
to be shared via a microphone and plan to have emcees for each decade
of time to keep things moving, said reunion organizer Sue (Marshall)
Leite. Memorabilia on loan for the day will be placed in a glass showcase.
The reunion is for all grades for the entire 34-year period the school
operated. It is open to the public for anyone wishing to attend who
may have been a student, worker, friend or relative.
Doll said reunion organizers have heard from former students as far
away as Florida and California. His great-grandfather settled in the
area in 1848 from Germany, and Doll has many cousins, a brother and
sister who attended the English School. His family lived about six miles
from the brick schoolhouse, and he said pupils where just common
The suggestion was made five years ago to hold a school-wide reunion,
but no one would initiate what seemed to be a daunting process. Eventually,
Leite and several other alumni decided to give it a try, realizing there
were lots of people who would be interested in revisiting the schoolhouse
that opened in 1929.
Three planning meetings were held to organize the reunion.
There has never been a school-wide reunion for the 34 years it
functioned nor following the closing of the facility 46 years ago,
said Leite, 65. I dont think there has ever been an individual
class reunion of any of the years.
Leite attended the English School from 1950-1958, graduating from the
eighth grade in May 1958. Her father, Lyman Richard Marshall, taught
seventh grade at the English School. The last eighth grade class graduated
Once the building no longer housed a school, it was purchased by John
Hamburg and functioned as the Carrollton Cabinet Factory for about 30
years. In 2001 David and Willena Finley sold their property in La Grange,
Ky., and purchased the building and began renovation.
The original school sat on two acres, but the Finleys purchased
an additional 16 to 18 acres. They currently reside in an apartment
inside the former school.
David Finley said he is interested in the history of the schoolhouse.
He has kept some of the original windows intact and a few blackboards
that were left behind once it was no longer a functioning school. He
has converted a blackboard into a backsplash above his kitchen sink.
He said he is always looking at distressed property, such
as the schoolhouse when it appeared in 2001. It was in desperate
shape when I purchased it, said Finley, who is originally from
Jefferson County, Ky. Finley attends church in English, where he is
the Associate Pastor at the Family Worship Center.
He is currently working to get the gym renovated to provide a space
for a banquet hall complete with a stage, to rent out to the community
for reunions, dinners and plays. He and his wife will be playing host
to the reunion and will have their apartment open for guests. Their
living room was the former first through fourth grade classrooms.
If reunion guests would like to bring photographs with them, Finley
said he would scan the pictures and make them available for anyone who
A reunion planning meeting is scheduled for
1 p.m. on Sept. 19 at the English School. For more information, contact
Sue Leite at (502) 732-9193 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit:
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