MUSING WITH CECIL BUFFINGTON ~ AN OPPORTUNITY LOST

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MUSING WITH CECIL BUFFINGTON

An Opportunity Lost . . .

I recently viewed a short video pertaining to the 200th Year Anniversary of the City of Jefferson School System. It's hard to believe that Jefferson has been blessed with Martin Institute, Bryan High School and Jefferson High School over the last 200 years. I don't think anyone could argue the impact these outstanding schools have had on Jefferson youth and the community over these many years.

The liberal democrats have a little saying that might have been applied to this monumental feat of observing the 200 years of greatness afforded by our local school system. "Don't let a good opportunity go to waste" has been heard time and time again over the last few years. It would seem that our Jefferson High School leadership has allowed a great opportunity to commemorate this event literally go to waste. I can see several billboards around town and this little video I mentioned seems to be the biggest items of tribute to this historical Jefferson event. I'm not limiting the state of contributions to these two events, there might be other events planned and being implemented that I am unaware of.

I simply see this lack of a major commemorative program thus far as an opportunity lost to really bring the City of Jefferson together to pay a tremendous tribute to the Jefferson City Schools history of achievement. What if you could bring the entire Jefferson School System together to honor these past 200 years? How would you accomplish this and what would be the specifics of getting our Dragon Nation together?

Perhaps we could start with Martin Institute. You will see that I'm pretty big on reunions. . . What if we put together a reunion of all Martin Institute attendees that are still alive. Not just graduates, but anyone that attended the school before it burned to the ground in 1944. There are still alot of those people out there. They could be invited to a reunion at, let's say, the Jefferson Arena. We could have a meal catered in and honor these people with a program from the current board of education and others that might want to participate. Maybe we could have the Jefferson boys and girls basketball teams dress in throwback uniforms from, say 1945, and play a team like Commerce or Jackson County. Maybe the opponents would like to dress in throw back uniforms for the game. Can you imagine the fun seeing teams with their shorts not down to the tips of their toes? How could you finance this tribute? Simply charge alumni attending $10 to $20 and charge attending fans $2 or $3 to get in at the gate. You could also open up the concessions stands for the game to all in attendance. I would assure you the gate, concessions and alumni payments would cover the cost of the meals, uniforms and other expenses.

What I am saying is we can be a little more creative in recognizing 200 years of excellence from our City High School System. It is simply a matter of taking the time to make it into a big event for the City of Jefferson.

The Bryan High School situation could be much the same except you could have on the floor introductions of all the attendees and a program presented by current Jefferson leaders about the quality of the Bryan High School experience. They had a lot of positive experiences in academics and athletics over the years that could be hi-lited. An all-time girls and boys alumni basketball game could be played if desired by the attendees. Of course they would wear throw back uniforms.

This 200 year tribute could well have been the greatest event ever for a high school system ever presented in the United States. It could well have been a first time happening.

I think the next step would be a reunion of all 1946 - 1969 Jefferson High School attendees. This would happen 30-45 days after the Bryan High Tribute. Perhaps you could have a scripted alumni basketball game. I think you could find enought healthy graduates from that era to walk/jog up and down the court for a 32 minute, four quarter running clock. This would be more of a four act play with these older folks just having fun being on the new arena court. This would be ladies and gents from those school years. I may be 73 years old, but I would cherish the memory of getting out there one more time on that beautiful Arena floor. We could even have cheerleaders and band members from these reunion periods   recognized. So many possibilities with formal programs at both half-times presented by current Jefferson public officials. You could recognize the senior class president from those years and even Miss & Mr. J.H.S. among other various honors.

A month or so later, would be a reunion of all 1970-1985 alumni. Same format as the 46-69 reunion. Have the basketball game with odd years versus even years. Cater in the meal and open the gates. Purchase new uniforms or perhaps pass on the 46-69 uniforms if that is the desire of the project committee. Same format for the games as the 46-69 games with perhaps a clock stoppage in the last two minutes of the first half and last two minutes of the game.

The next reunion would be about 30-45 days later with the 1986-2000 alumni. Can you imagine seeing the Matt Pugh and Jason Gibson duo back on the basketball court at Jefferson High School. Everyone in Jefferson would want to see this game. Bring back Bo Dubose and another coach of the era to coach the teams. This would be a strong possibility for all the alumni games with coaches like Sara Gee, Fred Herren, Paul Knight, Jim Shemwell, Kevin Jacobs and others that we could reach out to as the coach for these tributes to the 200th Aniversary of Jefferson City Schools.

Our final reunion would be the 2001 through 2017 group. Same basketball game format and same presentations of the era.

This could have been carried out through late 2018 and into 2019 until completed.

The ultimate goal of this series of events would be an invitation to get every former Jefferson High School graduate back into the school to honor the occasion. It would literally allow for the bringing of all living Jefferson City School System graduates back to their old school. It would be a once in a lifetime event and would be unlike any event ever put together.

Now, who would be available to coordinate this type of program?  Who could invest the time and energy for a project of this magnitude? I must admit I have no idea! This is only some far out thoughts on what could have happened with a total dedication to putting together an event to remember. It would be the ultimate tribute to the 200th Anniversary of The Jefferson City School System. It would take a team effort from alot of people to have made this happen.  But it was not out of the prospect of reality.

As it turns out, I believe it could very well simply have been an opportunity lost.