Baker High students: Sad and somber - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Baker High students sadden over school demolition

By Roslyn Giles

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  A cornerstone from the old Baker High School sits at the steps of Roy Cook's restaurant in North Columbus.

Cook, a 1968 graduate, said that's just a precursor to the memorabilia that's inside the "Lion's Den" a special room in Cook's Place dedicated to Baker.

"We built the room 6 years ago and I have collected our mascot, letterman's jackets, trophies, spirit ribbons and even the paddle."

By the end of the week, the school building Cook loves so much will be demolished as Reaves Wrecking Company continues the process, starting on the main structure Monday.

"It hurts because it meant so much for so many people—that was the cornerstone for south Columbus," said Cook.  Cook is referring to the building where he and so many attended school located on Victory Drive. 

Baker opened in 1943 as a high school and closed in June, 1991. It reopened later that year as a middle school and remained open for 8 more years before administrators shut the doors permanently.

But what's the real driving force behind all this comradery that draws thousands to the Fountain City for class reunions?

Cook answered, "I think it is because 90 percent of the students were military and you're only there for a couple of years. So you didn't get to see your friends all the time like students at Spencer or Jordan."

Former student John Crimmel, a military brat, echoes that fact.  "You never knew who you were going to be sitting next to everyday."

Some students sat next to the former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich...and Young and the Restless actress Victoria Mallory, 3 star generals and many more.

In the midst of all the history, the building where the memories were formed is now being torn down for good.

"That will be like the dagger in the heart," exclaimed Crimmel.

Even though the bricks and mortar are disappearing, Cook and Crimmel tell us Baker High will live on as long as a ‘Baker Lion' is alive.

To keep the spirit of Baker moving, the flagpole from Baker will be raised during a ceremony April 9th at Cook's Place.  Also, bricks from the school will soon go on sale for $5.00.

Proceeds will be used to help fund the annual scholarship awarded to a student whose parent is a member of the Baker Alumni Association. 

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

 

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