Nelagoney School alumni hosted 69th annual reunion

Kathryn Swan JC Correspondent

The Nelagoney School may be gone but fond memories continue as alumni met for their 69th annual reunion on June 3rd in the Fellowship Hall of Pawhuska’s First Baptist Church. Sixty-three alumni, former students and guests were in attendance.

Harold Craun, class of 1956 and alumni president welcomed everyone. He then asked his brother Jim to introduce class members in attendance. Jim Craun is a 1958 Nelagoney graduate, former Nelagoney teacher and principal.

Special recognition was given to Maxine Patrick Early, class of 1946, and Pauline Jones Alred, class of 1948, as the oldest graduates. Both were presented a bouquet of flowers. Attending his first reunion was Jim Roughton, revivalist from Oklahoma City and class of 1951.

The event celebrated the 60th anniversary for the class of 1957 with graduates Joyce Johnson Reames and Hershel Slinkard. Celebrating their 50th anniversary was the class of 1967 with graduates Vicki Swan Millikin and Robert Marling.

Following a delicious meal consisting of smoked brisket, turkey and all the trimmings was prepared by Charley and Shirley Wadsworth; attendees were treated to a DVD containing the history of their beloved school. Created by Jim Craun, this memorable DVD contained pictures of the Nelagoney community before the 1912 tornado that destroyed most of the town. Also included were pictures of students from the 1920s to 1969 as well as a preview of the 1994 school reunion.

The program concluded with assorted trivia on the school and its activities from 1906 to 1969. The Nelagoney School officially closed in 1969 after providing 63 years of educational opportunities for hundreds of youth.

Craun said, “The Nelagoney School reunion actually began in 1948 when the class of 1948 honored former graduates. It has continued to this day. The event is held annually on the first Saturday in June at the First Baptist Fellowship Hall in Pawhuska. Nelagoney Tigers, mark your calendar for the 2018 reunion which will be held on June 2nd.”

Note: The Pawhuska Journal-Capital published an article about the history of the Nelagoney School in its July 22, 2016, edition. Artist Brian Tharp created two massive murals on the former Nelagoney bus barn. The west door features the original Nelagoney School. The east door has the Nelagoney mascot, a tiger with lifelike eyes and incredible detail. Both intricately detailed murals were created with an airbrush.