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Oldest School Building in Blanchard Is Now a Museum Dedicated to 100 Classes

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BLANCHARD, Okla. -- It is the oldest building on the Blanchard school campus and, fittingly, it's 'chalk' full of history.

"It's the spirit of the entire town," says current curator Diana Brooks Bewley.

Bewley is now chief curator of a high school alumni museum and of 100 terms that date back to 1915, the year of the first graduating class.

Bewley, herself, graduated in 1974.

"A lot of memories," she smiles. "And a lot of memories that I would not want my boys to know about."

Closed to classroom use in the 1960's, most districts would have torn the building down and used the space for parking.

But current school leadership donated it and the museum moved in.

Long time teacher Betty Lewis, Class of '51, gets widespread credit for collecting the artifacts that fill every class room.

She was famous for calling students her birds.

"Were all students her birds," asks a visitor?

"Absolutely," says Diana.

The building is now dedicated to her memory.

Every generation of graduates has it's own class room.

Betty's husband, Pruitt Lewis, Class of '52, and one of ten family members to graduate here, remembers putting this together.

Pruitt chuckles, "It was a requirement at my house."

"A labor of love," states the visitor.

"Yes," he agrees.

It's alumni week for every proud Lion.

Gennelle Richey, Class of '48, taught English Composition for 57 years at Blanchard High.

The museum keeps memories of people like Myrna Joy Miller, who became Jody Miller and who won a Grammy in 1966.

Or of Tony Burriss, a 1947 graduate, who won the Medal of Honor for his gallantry in Korea.

They're all in here including the 100th graduating class from 2015, in a home for class memories far too numerous to fit into a simple glass trophy case.

Alumni organizers say as many as 500 former Blanchard graduates will walk through the museum and sign the register this weekend.

Saturday morning, Jody Miller will take part in a ceremony to dedicate a permanent sign advertising her home town and school.

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