Scottsburg Elementary School turns 80

Scottsburg Elementary School turns 80
Posted on 05/04/2017

This year, Scottsburg Elementary School is celebrating a big milestone — its 80th birthday — and everyone is invited to mark the occasion at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 7 at the elementary school.

In 1937, SES opened its doors in September after the school district spent $70,000 to build the school, where it sits today on Hyland Street, said Rick Zollman, SES Student Council sponsor. This was the same year when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, the country was in an economic recession, the Ohio River flooded, Amelia Earhart disappeared when attempting to be the first woman to fly around the world, the Hindenburg burst into flames, and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck was published.

“The school was built with the help of Works Progress Administration workers,” Zollman said. “It used to be called Hyland Elementary School [informally].”

Before building a new school, Scottsburg Elementary School was located on Bond Street, where American Martyrs Catholic Church sits today, Zollman said. The old elementary building was used as a Catholic church before being torn down to build a new church.

In its first decade of opening on Hyland Street, SES had its first celebrity visitor — world heavyweight champion Joe Louis. Louis held the title during his visit and spoke and shook hands with students and staff members. Though he grew up in Detroit, Louis trained in nearby Orange County, Ind., for 15 years of his boxing career.

“Joe Louis was here on stage. My dad actually was here when Joe Lewis was here,” said Zollman, who has worked for Scott County School District 2 for 31 years and is a SES alumnus.

Through its history, SES has gone through a few changes with updates to the gymnasium and front office, various remodeling projects through the decades, and the brightening of the halls with new paint. One of the most memorable changes was when the outdoor fire escape was removed.

“There used to be an outdoor fire escape on the building. There was a big slide and a tunnel students would go down during fire drills. The biggest kid in the class would have to go first and kick the doors open,” Zollman said. 

“I wish they still had it,” said Hailey Schafer, vice-president of the SES Student Council and a fifth-grade student.

Guests at the 80th birthday party on Sunday will be able to look at old photographs, receive a guided tour of the school from the SES Student Council members, reminisce with old classmates, friends, family, former employees and others about their time at SES, enjoy a cupcake and refreshments, watch a presentation, and be part of the balloon release.

“Everyone is invited to come,” said Maggie Cozart, secretary of SES Student Council and a fifth-grade student.