School begins Monday. Construction workers have already started demolition of Garner High and GMHS students will temporarily be housed at South Garner High. As part of the building came down on the old campus, so did many memories for alumni, faculty and current students who once walked the halls. There has been a huge response in recent weeks to photos of the demolition as Garner High gets rebuilt and renovated, so we decided to ask people to share their favorite memories at Garner High. Here are a few responses we’ve received:
Dear Garner Senior High School,
For the past 46 years of my life, you and I formed a friendship that no wrecking ball can destroy. You were there when I got my first car, played in my first varsity football game, attended my first prom, and walked across the stage with a high school diploma in my hand. Your rooms filled with wonderful teachers put me on a path to higher education, and I graduated from North Carolina State University because of you. Thankfully, the path was a loop road so you were also there when I taught my first class, I married the love of my life, I sent my two children to college, and together we won state championships in football and basketball. You will always be a part of my identity. Thank you for the memories! Rest well my old friend!
Coach Eddie Gray
I don’t have a memory from Garner High School that stands out amongst them all, but all of my favorite memories took place in the same room: Mr. Berube’s class.
Quite honestly, I hated high school until I got into his Physical Science class my junior year. I enjoyed that so much that I took his Physics class senior year. His classroom became my favorite room in the school. It was like my home away from home.
He made learning fun and enjoyable, from doing the “buggy” experiments to calculate acceleration to taking us outside to run up and down the stairs to calculate how much work, force and power we used. I also remember learning how to power a light bulb just using a battery and a wire (that was a fun one to pull out at Thanksgiving dinner). While doing all of that, he’d be sure to make ridiculous “dad jokes” in order to get us to laugh (or roll our eyes) and keep us engaged.
It was in his class that I discovered my passion for science, in which I am now pursuing a career. I felt I was able to explore during experiments without the fear of being ridiculed for messing up sometimes. On the contrary, mistakes were encouraged because he recognized that they were learning opportunities. I was able to push my limits in a place I felt it was safe to do so.
I’m the last to graduate from the original Garner Magnet High School and I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to have gone four years to the same school because I love that school. One of the memories I had from Garner was when I met friend my Maria Fernandez. I remember I met her (halfway through) my freshman year. One day my friends and I were walking to our spot for lunch because everyone had a spot in Garner that we will never forget. She was by the stairs by the 500 building. I told my friend to go talk to her so she wouldn’t be alone, and he was like, “No, you go.” So I went up to her and said, “Hey, you’re new here right?” She said “Yeah.” I asked her what was her name and what school she came from she told me her name was Maria and that she came from Johnson High School. I asked her if she wanted to come meet my friends and she said yes. Before we went I told her, “Don’t get scared. They’re just crazy.” She just answered me with “It’s OK.” So I introduced her to my friends and after that day we became so close. We had English 1st block together with Mrs. Krepelka in room 201. We would sit together everyday, until that day came (when she died). We’re missing two people from our class. I remember how Brandon would sit in front of me in Mrs. Wood’s class from Young Adults and Literature. And how sad it is that we are missing two people from our class. We miss you dearly Brandon and Maria.
I attended GSHS from 1979-1983.
I was a trombone player in the marching band all four years, and I have so many wonderful memories of that band room, the back practice field, the stadium and the whole experience. I remember marching in the sweltering August heat on that practice field, learning our halftime show. The year that our new stadium was being built, we couldn’t practice on the new field yet, but we practiced in view of it. To us, it looked like a small college stadium and we couldn’t wait for opening night. Then, one afternoon, very soon before the stadium was set to open, we all heard a terrible crash. As the construction company was erecting the mammoth stadium light poles, one slipped from its chains and fell crashing through the visiting stands, crumpling the metal, but more importantly, crushing our hopes and excitement at the pending opening. All was set back several weeks.
But once things were repaired, we marched onto that new field on Friday night, cadence thumping, stadium lights shining. We eventually even conducted the very first Garner Band Day on that field as well.
“My best memory about high school was seeing and talking to my friends.”
Garner Magnet High School has been in my family for over 23 years. I started teaching at GMHS when my youngest son, Daniel, was born. For many years I was the coordinator for the Homecoming Parade and both Daniel and my son, David, loved to ride in one of the floats! David spent 4 years at GMHS, graduated in 2005, studied to be a teacher at ECU, and then came to teach History at Garner beginning in 2012. Daniel would come knock on the back door to surprise me once he got his license. One of my favorite things was hearing my trailer door (802) open and have one of them stop in. For my last birthday they both traveled to Garner and, again, walked into my classroom, completely surprising me!