The old Mendenhall High School building - - Jackson, MS

The old Mendenhall High School building

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MENDENHALL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

They are about to tear down the old Mendenhall High School Building and replace it with something more needed.

But even if they remove the building, in at least one sense, the school will continue on.

As best as can be remembered, the old Mendenhall High School was built toward the end of the Great Depression.

It seems to be a sound enough building.

But it's just in the wrong shape for what's needed at the school complex today.

And after The State Archives and History Department says it's okay, the old art deco building will come down and most likely a new cafeteria will be built in its place.

Well, there was an impromptu Mendenhall High School reunion downtown at Mendenhall Grocery and Grain where former students brought their pictures and annuals and other souvenirs of their days at Mendenhall High, to remind us and each other who the school really is.

Not the building, but them.

Roseland Rhodes Lee who graduated from Mendenhall in '61 sums up the feelings of the folks who attended there back in the day when the school was newer, about it's imminent demise.

"It's very sad," Roseland Rhodes Lee said. "But we're very happy for the new generation to get a new start."

Roseland says some of the memories she has of the old school aren't even all HER memories.

For instance, Adeline Knight pointed out a spot to her in the auditorium that was emblazoned into her memory.

"She said that when she was in the 7th grade, she could remember the exact little seat she was sitting in when the principal called them in the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed to tell them that Roosevelt had declared war," Roseland Rhodes Lee said.

And Louise Batten graduated the day Roosevelt died.

But her biggest memory of that graduation ceremony was after everybody had walked across the stage in their caps and gowns, she changed into her wedding dress and her and her high school sweetheart were married while the crowd was still there.

"And it was just beautiful," Louise Batten said. "Just beautiful."

The homecoming queen and the football hero from their day are still making it their day all these years later.

People pick out pictures of themselves and even their parents from the old photos.

So even when the building is gone the school will still be alive.

Because the school is these people and all the others who's collective memories keep the graduation days and the times they beat Magee and the weddings and all the boys who got drafted and all the rest, alive.

Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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