It was a blue-sky kind of day, the sun was shining and a gentle breeze was evident by the fluttering of the new flag that had been raised to commemorate the day…a special day, a day to say farewell to the Exeter Area Junior High School (EAJHS) building. The demolition of the building is well underway and promises to be complete by mid-winter. Once down, the land will remain vacant until funds are raised to begin construction of the new Y, but the flag will continue to fly honoring all those who served at the EAJHS for so many years.
Over 100 people came to say a final goodbye to the building that served as a school for Exeter area students for over 30 years. But more important than the physical structure are the relationships and commitment to education and community that took place within the walls of the school. Tom Meehan, Principal of EAJHS from 1977-1998 spoke of excellence, the excellence of the educators, and their dedication and commitment to the students. Guests, alumni, and faculty at the event shook their heads in acknowledgement and recognition, remembering their time at EAJHS and it’s significance in their lives. Frank Kozacka, Principal from 1967-1977, was honored and remembered. Three generations of the Kozacka family were present and his great-grandson Cole will grow up knowing the legacy and commitment his great-grandfather had to education and the students of EAJHS.
Stories were told and memories were shared. Russ Dean, Exeter Town Manager, remembered his time at EAJHS and spoke of the teachers that had a significant impact on his life. Mike Morgan, SAU 16 Superintendent, honored the past and welcomed the future. While the bricks and mortar of the EAJHS may no longer exist, many will hold onto their memories.
The Y is honored to be part of the Exeter community and is committed to being good stewards of the land that will soon house a new facility; a place where people of all ages will come together. It was a blue-sky kind of day, a day when people celebrated their connections, remembered the past, and looked toward the future.