Liberty ECS Celebrates 90 Years

Liberty ECS Celebrates 90 Years
Posted on 10/16/2018
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Liberty Early Childhood School, in partnership with the Liberty Township Historical Society, celebrated the school’s 90th birthday on Sept. 16. The school welcomed past and present students, parents, teachers and residents to bear witness to the opening of a time capsule buried in 1976 following the building’s restoration.

“It was exciting to plan this special event alongside the Liberty Township Historical Society and learn more about the rich history associated with Hughes School House and its connections with Liberty ECS,” said Principal Carrie Montgomery. “It was fabulous to see so many families come out, too. Some families were five generations strong with Liberty ties!”

Opened as Liberty Elementary in 1928, the school was preceded by the Hughes School, which stands adjacent to Liberty. Hughes was the second school in Liberty Township and served grades 1-8 beginning in 1887. It was used for a time as the custodian’s residence following Liberty’s opening.

The unique relationship between both buildings made Liberty’s 90th anniversary a great time to open Hughes’ doors to the public. Now maintained as a historical site to help Lakota students understand public education in the 1900s, students had an opportunity to ring the original school bell, sit in the old wooden desks and view other schoolhouse artifacts.

Visitors like Ed Martin turned out to see the time capsule he and his classmates helped bury. Others like Gabrielle Strand recalled beginning her career at the school she once attended with a class of 45 students that year.

Ironically - given the timing of Lakota’s recent move to all-day kindergarten - former teacher and principal Nancy Follmer remembered Liberty expanding its kindergarten program one year. Without enough room, she and her class were moved to the methodist church on Cincinnati-Dayton Road instead.

Nancy Shackleford was part of the last eighth grade class to graduate from Liberty who went on to drive school buses for Lakota for 40 years. She reminisced about the three meetings held in her own living room, where it was decided to consolidate Liberty and Union districts into one district, later named Lakota Local Schools. She remembered the stage shows put on by the whole community to help further the programs offered by Liberty.

“This was a community school. Everybody knew each other and did things together,” she said.

Many more fond memories were exchanged among the students, parents and staff who passed through Liberty over the years.

“In my 32 years at Lakota, Liberty Elementary was without a doubt the most special building in the district,” said former principal Clayton Ash. “Liberty has a culture and history that cannot be duplicated. You feel it when you enter the building. My seven years there were the best of my career.”