"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."--From Bob Dylan's My Back Pages
State Lake Weir Pitcher Loren Abshier:
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News, area visits and nostalgic experiences, anecdotes of general interest to theme of the website is solicited. Submissions will be potentially used as Featured Articles on the this homepage.
May You Stay Forever Young
Lake Weir High School Class of 1962
Class Motto: Not for Ourselves, But Others
Capsule History of Lake Weir High School
Lake Weir High School was built in a central location to receive students from Weirsdale High School and Summerfield High School. The new high school was built on a hill in Sunset Harbor overlooking Lake Weir. Mr. Leo Armstrong was the first principle, coming from Weirsdale High School. The first classes started in September 1955. The high school included grades 7 thru 12 and had about 300 students total. The high school played six-man football. The Class of 1956, the first graduating class, had 33 graduates. Lake Weir High School students came from the elementary schools at Belleview, Summerfield and Weirsdale. These schools in turn served the communities of Belleview, Candler, East Lake Weir, Ocklawaha, Pedro, Summerfield, Sunset Harbor, Weirsdale and the outlying reaches of southern Marion County.
Marion county had a pretty stable population. Even so, between 1950 and 1962 many students moved into and out of our schools. This brief history will remind many alumni and enlighten other alumni of the histories of our schools. Weirsdale School opened its doors about 1923 and included grades 1 thru 12. Children came from East Lake Weir, Weirsdale and the surrounding areas. In 1955, with the opening of the new Lake Weir High School, the school became Weirsdale Elementary School with grades 1 thru 6. Mr. Leo Armstrong, the principle, moved to the new Lake Weir High School. The school house buildings still stand but are currently empty.
Summerfield School opened its doors in September 1925 and included grades 1 thru 12. Children came, from Pedro, Sunset Harbor, Summerfield and the surrounding areas. In 1955, with the opening of the new Lake Weir High School, the school became Summerfield Elementary School with grades 1 thru 6. The principle at Summerfield Elementary School in 1955 was George L. Holder. The school was closed when the Belleview and Summerfield school districts were combined and all students went to the new Belleview Elementary School. The old school building still stands and it is currently used as a storage facility.
Belleview School was opened about September 1928 and included grades 1 thru 8. Students graduating from Belleview went on to either Ocala High School or Summerfield High School. In 1955, with the opening of the new Lake Weir High School, the school became Belleview Elementary School, grades 1 thru 6. Mr. George L. Holder was the principle. A new elementary school was constructed on Highway 484 on the western outskirts of town to service the Summerfield and Belleview school districts. The original Belleview School is currently occupied by the City of Belleview. Ocklawaha School was open about September 1928 and included grades 1 thru 8. Students graduating from Ocklawaha went on to Weirsdale High School. I have not been able to determine when the school building was closed. The original school house still stands but is vacant. In 1967 the Marion County School District changed to the middle school concept and Lake Weir High School was changed from grades 7 thru 12 to include only grades 9 thru 12. In August, 1975, a new Lake Weir High School was constructed on Merricamp Road in Candler. The enrollment was 1200+ students. The 1993 school year reflected almost 2500 students.
Southern Marion county has experienced a constantly increasing population and a second high school was approved. The new Belleview High School will open its doors to students in August 1995. What we knew as Lake Weir High School designated Lake Weir Middle School in August 1975 and included grades 6 thru 8. The 1993 school year reflected about 1300 students at Lake Weir Middle School.
When we graduated in 1962 Lake Weir High School had less than 450 students in grades 7 thru 12. There were 45 alumni pictured in our yearbook but there were 50 students in our senior class.
Yes, there have been many changes in the system and many additions to the school and facilities but those of you, who visit "the top-of the hill" will recognize many familiar things on the old campus. The south Marion county area has changed quite a bit since 1962. What used to be a rural country-side with many citrus groves, farms, cattle ranches and some retail is now a more populated urban environment with tourism, many retirees, light industry and retail. Those classmates who have not been back to the area in many years might be awestruck at the changes that have taken place. Those classmates that still reside in the area enjoy some familiarity and a somewhat relaxed pace of living we all remember from our high school days.
The Class of '62 is interested in hearing from anyone who attended or taught at the old school on the hill from 1955-1975.
Mr. & Miss Senior--Wallace McKeehan and Karolyn Kirkland
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS