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Decades of Memories: Students attend farewell tours at Washington and Merrill

Posted at 5:46 PM, Apr 28, 2024

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Whether they were from the class of 1989 or the class of 2003, students from Washington Elementary School and Merrill Middle School took a walk down memory lane to say goodbye to their former schools.

  • The Oshkosh Area School District is preparing to close the schools of Washington Elementary and Merrill Middle to make way for newer schools
  • Former students recall memories from when they attended the schools

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story, with additional details for the web)

Both schools had been open for decades prior to this year. Now, they will close at the end of the school year.

But, before the older schools are torn down, those students who have gone to the schools got a chance to say goodbye.

[Bryan Davis, the Oshkosh Area School District Superintendent] says the gesture also allows them to connect with their communities on a different level.

“We’re very intentional about involving the community throughout everything we do. We’re a public school system. We know our schools are integral parts of our neighborhoods and our communities. So we always want to be able to have opportunities like this.”

One of the people in attendance was Joshua Wolfgram, who documented his trip down memory lane. He went to Washington from 1986 to 1989. He says it’s tough to see the school torn down, but knows it’s a part of making education in the community better.

“You know, I only came back here because it was being torn down. I wouldn’t have come here otherwise. It’s a part of progress and it’s going to change no matter what.”

But he’s also hoping that going back to his roots will allow him to reconnect with some old friends.

“I just want to say 'Hi' to all of my old friends from when I was a kid. If you want to get in contact with me, whether or not this goes on the air, Joshua Wolfgram, '86-'89. I hope they see this!”

Vel Phillips Middle School opened in 2023 to replace Merrill. Meanwhile, Menominee Elementary School, is set to open this fall to replace Washington.