Overdale family reflects as old to make way for new

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By Stephen Thomas

HILLVIEW - A slideshow photo presentation was displayed on a large white piece of paper taped to a wall in front of a broken screen.


The sound system involved a microphone balanced on a cracked stage floor, propped next to speakers from a laptop computer.

Regardless, the Overdale Elementary community in attendance saw an aging school facility as purely golden. Past and present students and parents, former and current faculty and administrators all gathered to celebrate Overdale’s 50th anniversary.

The slideshow presentation was the highlight of a special reunion ceremony involving many of Overdale’s past leaders.

Current principal Pam Robertson introduced many former dignitaries including inaugural principal Raymond Terry and his wife, Louise, the school’s first librarian.

Other former principals in attendance included Carol Richards, Jan Stewart, Patricia Foster and Wendell Whicker. Beginning in 1970, Whicker’s 15 years as principal was the longest tenure.

“At one time we had 1,206 students and we were the largest (elementary) school in Kentucky,” said Whicker. “We also started a teacher-aid program.”

Whicker was swarmed with familiar faces following the ceremony, including former Overdale student and fourth grade teacher Rita Belcher.

“We’re all so excited to see Mr. Whicker,” Belcher said.

Belcher mentioned Overdale’s ‘double schedule’ period, including morning and afternoon sessions until Brooks Elementary opened.

“Over a 10-year period I attended five schools living in the same home on Zoneton Road,” she said.

Belcher believed Overdale always remained a close and friendly community throughout the years.

“When you’ve learned and lived and grown in the same community it’s really special,” she said.

Carolyn McClintock, Overdale’s front desk secretary, has been through it all. A former Overdale student and parent, she also acted as Kindergarten instructional assistant, clerical assistant, lunch moderator, bus moderator and even performed a few custodial duties.

McClintock received a special honor during the ceremony, in which Robertson referred to her as “the heartbeat of the school.”

Accompanying McClintock along the front row were four of her former Overdale classmates, all members of the school’s first graduating class. They included Brenda Stroud, Vicki Young McConnell, Linda Crumbacker Cambron and Jill Terry Edison, the daughter of the first principal and librarian.

“We were always together having some sort of fun,” said McClintock, the former Carolyn Bailey. “Sometimes I wonder how are parents put up with us.”

Following the presentation guests were invited to tour the facility, which will close permanently at the end of the semester. A new facility is being constructed next to the current site.

Former student Becky Oliver Proctor perused old class pictures on the wall in search of familiar faces. She and her mother, Carol Oliver, were happy they attended the ceremony.

“I haven’t been here for a long time,” said Proctor. “It’s nice to go back and reminisce.”

Robertson said the event was a double ceremony, honoring the school’s 50 years of history and saying goodbye to its only building. She praised Overdale’s Learning Environment committee for ideas and acknowledged teacher Traci Barger for gathering many photographs and mementos.

Along with McClintock, Robertson credited Family Resource Center coordinator Betty Marshall with researching the school’s history and its impact on the surrounding area.

Art instructor Sarah Cruetzinger decorated halls with writing pieces and artwork depicting school memories of current students. Other photo displays included principals and assistant principals and numerous class pictures.

“It was a real team effort,” said Robertson, wrapping up her first year as Overdale principal. “I was basically just the cheerleader.”

PTA president Vicki Jacobs created the ceremony’s slideshow presentation. Copies of the presentation are available at the school for $5, with all proceeds donated to the school.

The theme of the presentation, “Building a New Foundation of Excellence,” was in honor of Overdale’s anticipated new facility. As another fundraiser, the school will sell gold-plated bricks from the original facility for $5 each.

Overdale 50th Anniversary t-shirts are also available at the school for $5. The shirts depict a photo of the original school facility. Bricks purchases and shirts are both currently available at the school.

The old school building will soon make way for the new one scheduled to open for the 2009-2010 school year. Whether Overdale is housed in a state-of-the-art facility or in its leaky ceilings and weathered brick halls of the past, the school’s positive and upbeat community will remain unchanged.

“I’m impressed with the ongoing community spirit,” said Robertson. “Obviously Overdale holds a lot of fond memories. It’s more of a family than a school. I’m proud to be a part of the family.”