By Lindsay Whitehurst
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MONROE - In the office wall safe at Lemon-Monroe High School, behind the money from the sports concession stand, was a treasure trove of history: photographs of basketball teams, original roll books and even a teacher's scrapbook with letters from student-soldiers during World War II.
Sophomore Jesimy Bunch holds the camera as sophomore Betsy Wray (from left), senior Adam Passwaters, sophomore Lindsey Robinson and sophomore Cortney Walters help compose a shot Tuesday at Lemon-Monroe High School. The students are in Tom Burklow's class.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/GLENN HARTONG
"These things are part of our history. We shouldn't just throw them in the Dumpster when we leave," said Tom Burklow, Monroe Web-design teacher, who found the safe's contents after a teacher tipped him off.
To make sure the school's 123-year-history isn't lost when students move to a new building next fall, Burklow is leading a student project using digital cameras and video to preserve the photographs and letters, records and notes crammed in the nooks and crannies of the school.
"Here's our one chance to capture whatever's left for the future," Burklow said
A school building has stood at 101 W. Elm since 1881, though the building has gone through a relocation and 10 additions.
The school has graduated a Miss America, put on two productions of The Wizard of Oz and survived a fire that destroyed three floors.
Burklow began offering the nine-week class on creating the documentary almost five months ago. He and his students plan to finish a 60- to 90-minute movie when they move into the new building.
Two new Macintosh e-Macs, a Sony digital 8mm video camera, a lighting kit and computer editing software give Burklow and his classes the means to preserve yearbooks and sports pictures, attendance records and scrapbooks.
"At first I didn't really like it because I didn't know how to use the software," said Monroe sophomore Tad Kilburn. But he's mastered the technology and is now building a 30-minute segment on the history of sports at Monroe. He tracks down pictures of teams and their records, choosing the best teams to feature on the final product.
"When I'm looking through (the records), I see all my own family members," he said.
The history of the high school is important to the people of Monroe, said Monroe Historical Society President Joyce Tannreuther.
"In a small town, the high school is really the center. The people of the town have always really rallied around the school here," she said.
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