Bramwell High School Class '79 Memories

An education that’s forever gone !

By: Brian Hartwell, BHS Class '79

(Published in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph -September 6, 2006)

I’ve been sitting around for awhile today, and the past events, including the sale of the old Bramwell School a while back, have been lingering within my mind. Its closure was a foregone conclusion before it ever came about, but that doesn’t diminish the memories and experiences that will live forever in my mind.

Whatever I become, or do not, lies within the foundations of the education I received from the faculty and staff of this icon of an era gone by: When education was more important than numbers (statistics).

It is with a sadness I realize that there are no more facilities like this one (numbers have “statistically” removed them). They no longer exist in this day and time. This is the result of what the Board of Education deemed best, but that is a battleground that could be argued morally and emotionally for days, or even weeks. In the context of fiscal responsibility, however, the argument took only the opinion of a few CPA’s, a few legal opinions, and a few pages of numbers and equations (statistics) to settle (that is what the Board is now comprised of), and that’s precisely what transpired. Tragic, but nonetheless true.

In saying good-bye to this place where I spent a considerable part of my youth, memories of its halls and its rooms fill my mind, and many people’s faces come back to me as well.

People I feel that I owe a thank you to and to express an appreciation for their tolerance of my ignorance and their patience in making me just a little better person than I was before. People like M.B. Guyton, who taught me the value of wit and diplomacy, and Lucille Hill, who helped me in many ways in deciding to pursue a college education.

There are many, many others: Katherine Barringer, (who recently celebrated her 90th birthday), Mrs. Jones, Naomi Bowman, Edris Miller, Mrs. Goings, Lamon Wills, Sue Guyton, Robert Wray, Richard Evans, Marlin Briscoe, Mrs. Palco (Sexton), June Shoda, Alma Murphy, John Potter, David Richardson, Grover Woody, Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. Hickman, Jeff McNew, Mrs. Gay. There are many; please forgive me if I left out a name or missed someone.

These people showed me elements of an education and character that I do not see in students and children in this day and time. They demonstrated character and how important it is. They showed me the difference between having character and being a character. They showed me something about the world around me that I might not have noticed otherwise and helped me to understand why. They taught me it was okay to think openly and enhance my learning process to include experiences in respect and humility where situations warrant. It’s not that way now, and I suspect it will never be again. It is, sadly to say, forever gone.

I am so glad to have been a part of its history and to have experienced the people and the cultures it allowed me to see. With respect and appreciation.

Brian Hartwell, Class of 1979

( Material from the 1979 BHS Yearbook and furnished by Leslie Aker, BHS Class '80 )