Dear Old Wesson School Days

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 10, 2009

The old Wesson School sits empty, awaiting the possibility of afuture as St. Ambrose boys’ leadership school, but the people whoattended until it closed in 1960 still gather yearly to rememberits past.

“I still have extra special memories about this crazy town andeveryone that went to school here,” Wesson alderman Bobby Britttold almost 40 former students who gathered at Wesson BaptistChurch Saturday.

And Britt was not the only one.

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The people who gathered to remember the old school were allages. The last graduating high school class was in 1947, and thelast classes to attend the school when it closed in 1960 were up tothe eighth grade.

“I loved the old Wesson School,” said Sonya White Cowen, thedaughter of former principal N.D. White. “As a little girl, I’d goaround with Daddy and turn out all the lights after the events.Everyone that went there has wonderful memories.”

The event brought people from as far as St. Petersburg, Fla.,where Marvin “Little Cap” Wallace lives as a retired engineer.

There were also the ones who didn’t have much of a drive at all.Edward Graham, who graduated with the class of 1936, said he wasborn in the home right next door to the one he lives in now inWesson.

The group told stories of classmates who had passed on and whocould not attend the reunion, recalling students and teachers ofthe old school and reminiscing about days gone by.

“I remember Coach Troy Funchess produced winners,” said GeorgeBoutwell. “In ’41 we beat everyone but Crystal Springs, and therewas some ‘home cooking’ there, so we didn’t count that as aloss.”

Joy Davis Patterson had memories of Coach Funchess as well.

“I just remember he always said, and I think he meant it aboutthe football team, that “there’s gold in them thar hills,'” shesaid.

The group was eager for updates on what might become of theirold alma mater. Britt told them the plan that was authored aroundthe turn of the century to make the school into a leadershipacademy for boys has been put on hold for the time being.

“We had the report on it at city hall the other night, and we dohave the financing to renovate the inside,” he said. “But somethinghas come up and they want us to hold up on it right now.”

Britt also encouraged the reunion attendees to remember tosupport Wesson, especially financially, in everything they do.

“All of us that love Wesson so much, we need to considerinvesting in Wesson,” he said, adding that times are toughfinancially for everyone, and that small towns are hit hard whenthe economy slumps.

“My vision for Wesson is to have Beech Street that runs from thecampus to town lit with lampposts,” he said. “I see downtown beinga part of the college. It is up to us to envision what Wesson canbe and make it happen.”