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Central High graduates return to former school Wednesday for Back to School Day

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Alumni group heads efforts to preserve history

Saturday, July 13, 2013 - 12:01 am

From 1922 to 1971, it's estimated between 15,000 and 17,000 people graduated from Central High School, now site of Fort Wayne Community School's Anthis Career Center at 1200 S. Barr St. On Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Tigers are taking over the school once again.

The Central High School Alumni Association is hosting the fourth annual “Back to School Day,” and about 125 people are expected to attend, eat lunch and share stories. The event is free. The date was chosen because it is Senior Day at the Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival.

“Back to School Day” also will showcase the completion of the alumni association's latest project, 50 hanging files, or basically a huge scrapbook attached to one of the building's walls. Each file is filled with graduation pictures, newspaper stories and memories. The panels cost $4,500.

“We believe that when the school was completed in 1904, that there were hanging files here,” said alumni association President Barbara (Pearson) Aurand from the class of 1958. “When the school was remodeled in 1969, some of the items were moved to South Side (High School), and now they are being used there.”

The alumnis' next project will be a torch lighting around the building, then a new sign at the corner of Barr and Lewis streets that lists the building's history as Fort Wayne High School, Fort Wayne Central High School and the Anthis Career Center.

The association has a membership of around 500 and sells sweatshirts, T-shirts and license plates with Central's Tiger logo to raise money.

Aurand has also been librarian for the Tiger Den since 2004. The small room at the Anthis building holds more than 1,200 documented items that chronicle Central High's history.

“We are hoping to get some of the younger ones involved soon because this is not going to continue if we don't,” Aurand said.