High school memories are now on display for future generations


Bill Roberts believes that the best way to provide a history for future generations is to preserve that history today, and through that quest he is leading an effort to gather mementos from the county’s two former high schools so that those attending the current one will see that history.

A series of glass trophy cases have been located in the lobby of Switzerland County High School, and those cases have begun to fill up with items from Patriot High School and Vevay High School – the two high schools that came together to form Switzerland County High.

“We’re getting in lots of pictures,” Bill Roberts said. “We got a photo of a graduation exercise from 1911, which is amazing. I don’t want it to stop. We want to save everything that we can for posterity.”

The driving force behind Bill Roberts and his effort is that there are many residents out there who attended one of the two high schools and who have photographs or other artifacts that tell the story of their school and their time and teens in the county.

“Someday those things are going to be in a box and children or grandchildren aren’t going to have any idea what it is or why it was saved,” Bill Roberts said. “We’re hoping that people care enough about their items to bring them to us so that they can be saved and preserved. Everything is marked with the donor’s name on it, so it’s a way of sharing things with others.”

Bill Roberts says that people with photographs that they don’t want to let go of have been allowing him to have copies made, with the copy going in the case while the original stays with the person.

The project is gaining momentum, with the current cases nearly full with more planned – and more items are coming in everyday.

“At one time there were 13 grade schools in the Patriot area alone,” he says. “We’ve gotten photos from the grade school at Lamb, so it’s not just the high schools. We want to have a history of all of the old schools that were in the county.

Bill Roberts says that everyone has been jumping in and helping with the project; and although some of the larger pictures are causing collectors a little problem because of storage and protection, some are starting to make it up onto the walls.

“I’ve been told that there’s a lot of kids gathering around the pictures during their lunch hour and during the day,” Bill Roberts said. “They’re seeing old pictures of their grandparents or their mom and dad. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Bill Roberts said that he understands that there are more old school photos in the county museum, but he hasn’t even started to discuss those yet because of the outpouring of items from donors.

“One way or the other, we’ve got to preserve the past,” Bill Roberts says. “It’s a great way to make sure that things are kept safe. We’ve been getting all sorts of things. Graduates from Patriot High School has been bringing in a lot of things. Patriot’s been participating as well as anybody. The Patriot Alumni Association has been behind this project 100-percent.”

As more and more items come in, there is very quickly becoming a space problem in the new display cases, so Bill Roberts and his committee of volunteers have been working with the school administration about more cases so that more items can be displayed. Additional cases may also be purchased through donations that individuals, businesses, and alumni groups may choose to give to keep things rolling.

Anyone interested in helping with more cases should contact Bill Roberts at his Bennington home; or contact Janet Splain at the high school.

Anyone who has a photo or an item that they would like to donate or share may bring them to the Vevay Newspapers office, and arrangements will be made to have the photos copied and the items turned over to the committee.

“Things are really rolling now,” Bill Roberts said. “It’s a great thing to see all of that school history in the same place.”