Decades ago, Article I, Section IV of the original constitution for the Wakelon High School Boosters Club called for holding at least one social event each year, the nature of which would be determined at the necessary time.
While the old school – now Zebulon Town Hall – last operated as an educational hub in 1985 when it was known as Zebulon Elementary , a group of Wakelon graduates plan to uphold that social-event quota this year.
Friends of Wakelon will hold an open house Friday, Sept. 25 from 2 to 4 p.m. to showcase the collection of Wakelon memorabilia that has grown significantly over the past year.
“We had a lot of hard work that went into it,” said Ann Matheny, Wakelon Class of 1964 and Friends of Wakelon president. “It really brings back a lot of good memories. It’s great to have a place generations can go and see the same things and reminisce.”
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The local interest group assisted in the recovery of the historic building in 2007, writing letters to every graduating class soliciting votes supporting a $5 million bond referendum to purchase it from GlaxoSmithKline.
The group’s input during the renovation of the building included a request for brickwork to remain exposed along the main stairwell, which can be seen today, and for a display case to house items from the school.
Friends of Wakelon board member Jenny Privette said the single display case along a downstairs hallway wall became so crowded that the group asked for more space and got its wish. Along with an increased space upstairs on the side opposite the council chambers came an increase in items donated to the exhibit.
“We’re hoping more people will give,” said Privette, a 1956 Wakelon graduate. “People are beginning to know (the memorabilia) is there, that it’s safe and that it will stay there, so they are starting to give more things like class rings – more valuable things.”
There is already an outstanding amount of history in the exhibit, which was arranged by Sherri Tant Barham, a student in the building when it was Zebulon Elementary.
Documents from PTA, glee clubs and football teams line one wall. Across the open room are mannequins dressed in Wakelon band, cheerleading and majorette uniforms, and a bookcase of yearbooks dating back as far as 1928.
In between, you’ll find things like the Wakelon girls basketball team’s Wake County Season Championship trophy from 1955-56; a billboard dedicated to staff from 1908-70, including prominent teachers Lois Wall, Eva Page, Helen Gregory and Mary Lacy Palmer; and other athletic memorabilia, like the helmet of the late W.G. Griswold from his time as a Wakelon Bulldog football player in the 1950s.
Class photos and diplomas dominate the rest of the space.
“You can come every day and see something new – you just can’t take it all in,” said Friends of Wakelon board member and 1958 graduate Patricia Roberson. “It’s an ongoing project. We’re missing a few yearbooks and little, hands-on memorabilia, and are also looking for more class rings.”
Friends of Wakelon purchased five new display cases to house items for the exhibit, using proceeds from the bricks and pavers it has sold at the fountain and centennial plaza in front of the building.