Posted By: Gary Kroeger
I can remember my first day at the new school as if it were only a few years ago. In point of fact it was 49 years ago, and my parents had just moved into the Price Lab school district because they wanted their children to get the education that a laboratory school with (what was known then as) the State College of Iowa offered. It was September 1964 and my mother left me at the door of Miss Blackman’s 2nd grade classroom.
I was scared and I cried and cried, holding onto my mother’s dress, begging her not to leave me. I was kind of a momma’s boy anyway, but this was a new school and I didn’t know a soul, and the thought of walking into that corner room with kids who all seemed to know each other already, was daunting. Miss Blackmon came to the door and smiled at me with warmth that I still remember; letting me know that it was okay to be feeling separation anxiety and that I would be in good hands. Instantly I felt safe and reassured. That feeling never left me for the next 10 years, until my graduation in May of 1975.
Price Laboratory School gave me an education, taught me values, showed me how to socialize, to motivate, it gave me inspiration, rewarded my achievements, offered diversity, and scolded me if I fell off the path, but in a way that brought me back in line every time. My teachers did so with passion, compassion, skill and a personal involvement in my experience before, during and after every school day.
There are too many great teachers and administrators to list here. If I left someone off, it would be like forgetting to invite a family member to a wedding; I won’t take that chance. But I can say that from music to speech, from plays to track meets, from contests to school dances, yearbook committees and student government, from learning to type to making molasses sugar cookies, NU High/Price Lab gave me the best of the best in terms of teachers, curriculum, student teachers (that, believe me, we taught to teach!). If my wonderful parents were the foundation to create my life, NU High/Price Lab was the cornerstone on which the framework to achieve goals was anchored.
To see this special place torn down, especially in view of the reasons given, is too hard to comprehend. I drove by the chain link fence with my youngest son to show him “where daddy went to school.” We could see through the empty spaces where windows were ripped from the frame and into every room. And every room had memories, vivid memories. Memories of being the house band at a school dance in the cafeteria. Memories of creative projects with Mrs. Vargas. I could see Ken Butzier’s door where I learned if I had gotten a part in the next play. The music rooms where Les Hale meticulously directed the best high school choruses imaginable. I saw the library where I literally learned to read. I saw into Dr. Albrecht’s office where I once sat waiting for a lecture I had dreaded regarding…a behavioral issue.
I saw where I sat next to Joy Wilkinson in Room 222 and I remembered trying to make her laugh during Language Arts (which I believe was the behavioral issue).
I don’t know how to end this essay because the memories do not cease, nor will they. They have taken the body of our school away, but for all of us who attended it is sort of hallowed ground now. No writ of demolition, or decisions of a blind board of Regents, can take away what WE took away from there.
Long live the traditions and memories of NU High!