75 Years at Kilbourne

Kilbourne Middle School FrontA week ago the following announcement came across my desk: It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that the Social Studies Department at Kilbourne Middle School announces a community-wide celebration for the building’s 75th birthday.  The school, located at 50 E. Dublin-Granville Rd., was opened to junior high students in 1938.  After WWII, the building became an elementary school.  Later, when new elementary schools were built around Worthington, the building became a ninth grade campus for freshmen attending Worthington High School.  The last freshmen class left Kilbourne in 1990, when the new Worthington Kilbourne High School was constructed on Hard Rd.  After a short stint as a Board of Education building annex, the school was renovated and reopened as a middle school in 1993.  The school would like to solicit stories and reflections about the building’s past from the community.  They are inviting the community to share memories of the school as part of the 75th birthday celebration and are hoping to receive submissions from former junior high, elementary, freshmen, middle school students, teachers, and principals.  Submissions may be dropped off at the Kilbourne Middle School office, mailed to Kilbourne Middle School, 50 E. Dublin-Granville Rd., Worthington, OH, 43085, or emailed to kilbournememories75@gmail.com.

I attended Kilbourne when it was the freshman building for Worthington High School in 1987.  700 plus freshman were crowded into one school that was at the time, old, tired, and in disrepair.  What I remember about Kilbourne is that 9th graders need upper classmen to help them stay in line.  As 9th graders we were just old enough to get into a little too much trouble without 11th and 12th graders to model positive behaviors.  Freshman year was the year we all threw SuperBalls at the chalkboard when Mr. Benalcazar, our Spanish teacher, turned his back.  It’s the year we snuck out of the cafeteria to buy lunch at the Home Market and then used the fire escape to eat lunch on the roof of the market. It’s the year I was cut from the basketball team, and the year I refused to go to my special education tutor because it was certainly not cool, and I ended the year with a 1. something grade point average as a result.  Kilbourne is the place where my classmate Brian Hunt jumped out of a second story window into the courtyard (now the library) just to escape English class, and Kilbourne was the place where McCord, Perry and Worthingway students came together to form one high school class.  It was the school with Mr. Bates as the principal. (Obviously when Kilbourne closed in 1990 the district leaders at the time did not envision it being re-opened.  Naming the new high school Worthington Kilbourne was a nod to history.  After failing to garner support to build a new middle school in the northeast quadrant of the school district (around Slate Hill) the school was renovated and re-opened as a middle school and it retained the original name Kilbourne.  This thus set off 20 plus years of confusion when families from outside Worthington try to attend events at Worthington Kilbourne or Kilbourne Middle and end up on the wrong side of town.)

I have fond memories from Kilbourne.  I had fun there, although it was clearly not the best year of decision making for me, and I spent the next three years of my life trying to dig out of the hole that I had created for myself.  That said, Kilbourne is certainly my favorite physical building in the school district.  From the fire place located in Mr. Scully’s office, to the incredible auditorium, to the central entry capped by a bell tower containing the original bell James Kilbourne had purchased for the 1808 Worthington Academy Building.  The Kilbourne school is special.  Both as a building, and certainly now as a middle school.  If you have memories from your time or your child’s time in the Kilbourne building please take a minute and email kilbournememories75@gmail.com

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2 Responses to 75 Years at Kilbourne

  1. Karen Holt - aka Aesop Queen says:

    Great story… Great history… Great memories from you! I always wondered why we have Kilbourne MS and Worthington Kilbourne HS. From my perspective, it is confusing for the substitutes as well. I’ve had more than one call froma sub wondering how they are at the wrong building! Now I know!

  2. Jason Turpening says:

    Great story, Trent. I enjoy these posts, especially this one. I do remember going to Home Market, I also remember walking over to Susie’s (Suzie’s?) Donuts over on High & North St. And talk about bad decision making…how about the walks from Kilbourne to the main campus down that alley for the next ‘big fight’?? Rally in the Alley!!

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