Thursday, August 30, 2018

Blazer

The dual identity of AHS (or PGBHS)
is reflected in many of its symbols
I was surprised to receive something in the church mail the other day. One of the parishioners found a 1960's postcard (see below) of my alma mater and mailed it to me. Paul G. Blazer was the CEO of Ashland Oil back in the day, and he donated money toward the building of a new high school in Ashland, Kentucky, so they named the school after him. Though the school's name officially changed from Ashland High School (located downtown on Lexington Avenue) to Paul Blazer (located at the opposite end of town in South Ashland), most people (both within and outside of town) still referred to the school as "Ashland" and its teams were never called the Blazer Tomcats, but to this day remain the Ashland Tomcats. Moreover, the letter A has always always appeared on uniforms, school rings, etc.
One fact that seems strange to just about all Ashlanders (except maybe the youngest): The city of Ashland's only public high school has been Blazer for over 55 years now—longer than the old Ashland High School even existed. I'm not sure where Ashlanders went to school before the 1920's (though I know Crabbe School downtown once included a high school), and I don't remember the exact year the old AHS was built, but it was far younger when Blazer was built than Blazer is now.

Blazer wasn't a bad place to go to school. All classrooms had one wall that was solid glass, and they either looked out on woods or on the center of campus, which was trees, boulders, and grass. Getting to class was always a challenge when it was cold or rainy, because we had to brave the elements, and only had 5 minutes to do it. These days, the walkways between buildings are all covered and what once were little more than paths are now broad, handicap-accessible sidewalks. But looking at it now, I can't help but be a bit nostalgic for the way things used to be.

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