Photos By Barb Hockenbary PhotographyPhotos By Barb Hockenbary PhotographyPhotos By Barb Hockenbary PhotographyPhotos By Barb Hockenbary Photography

Of Buildings and Memories

On Wednesday, December 16, 2020 an important member of the Murdo community faced the beginning of its end. Born in 1962, this member has had its fair share of memories here in Murdo, shared with its fair share of people.
    Many remember spending their 1st through 8th grade years roaming it’s corridors; kindergarten building, close by.
    Although not many major events happened in the actual school building, many can probably remember the book fair held every year in the tiny, cramped library; a fraction of the size of the library in the new elementary school. Or maybe practicing music in a certain room. Perhaps a fond memory with certain teachers.
    In 1989-90 the new high school was built and the 7th and 8th graders moved out of the old elementary school building. Thus a classroom was opened up for the kindergarteners, and room for a brand new computer lab.
    On October 15, 2019, teachers and students officially left the building and proceeded to conduct classes in the new elementary school. Soon after, however, on March 20, 2020, the students and staff had to stay home due to Covid-19.
    In place of the old school building, a new playground will be built for the elementary kids.

Fond Memories

    In a way, the beginning of the end brings about nostalgia. It’s a bittersweet feeling, almost sad.
    Lorrie Esmay, Principle/Superintendent, recalls spending about 20 years working and teaching  in the old elementary building. First, as a special ed teacher for about 13 years, then as a principle/superintendent for about 5 years.
    “My old office...I had a saying on my wall that said, ‘Be the reason someone smiles today’”.
    In trying to hone down one special memory, Lorrie says,
    “ all comes down to people and relationships with them whether it was all the students I worked with as a special education teacher or administrator. All of our four children attended Kindergarten through 6th grade in the old building.
    I remember classroom parties, being a substitute teacher, especially in kindergarten when Mrs. Venard had her twins. I knew then it took someone special to be a kindergarten teacher. I remember chasing birds out of the building every fall and spring with Ms. Venard, (the bird whisperer) and Mrs. Ball. I would open all the doors in the morning to allow the building to cool off and the birds would come in. Most of all just the smiles and laughter of so many people”.
    I’ll end this piece with some beautifully written words by an anonymous author who fondly remembers the school.
    “There is something sadly poetic about watching a building come down. It’s a bit like watching a living thing pass. It takes a long time to grow and build. It is around for a long time - people flow through it like blood cells through veins and arteries. Rooms function almost like organs, each with a purpose. Then it grows old, doesn’t work so well, isn’t as useful, and finally is no longer needed. What took a long time to build, and what was good and useful for a long time - is gone and hauled away in almost an instant.
Not forgotten if it did it’s job well and with care - but gone”.

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
Telephone: (605) 859-2516
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