Hundreds of community members celebrate Liberty Memorial Central Middle School’s centennial

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Generations of Lawrencians with connections to the school at 1400 Massachusetts St. — whether as Liberty Memorial High School, a junior high or a middle school — gathered Sunday to celebrate the school’s centennial.

The school was completed in 1923, a monument to Lawrence young people who did not return from World War I.

“Three hundred young people from Lawrence fought in the war, 144 which had not graduated from high school yet. Nineteen of these students were killed; six in France and others from disease either home or ‘over there,’” according to the school’s website. “Six high school girls became nurses; two did not return.”

Sunday’s event included a moment of silence for those lives cut short, and a rededication of the building.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Curtis Marsh speaks at LMCMS.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Ted Juneau was the principal of Central Junior High School from 1994 to 2005.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Superintendent Anthony Lewis (right) presents a commemorative plaque to LMCMS Principal Jennifer Schmitt.

There were also performances by an alumni choir and the current Liberty Memorial Central Middle School honor choir, Excalibur.

They were directed and accompanied by former choir director Patricia Boyd, who started the choir in 1976 and was director until 1996, and later by Kevin Hart, CJHS choir director from 2004 to 2011.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times

The school has been called Liberty Memorial High School (1923), Lawrence Junior High School (1954), Central Junior High School (1960) and, since 2011, Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, according to the event program.

A special logo designed to commemorate the anniversary incorporates a poppy flower, which is the traditional symbol of World War I remembrance.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times

Those in attendance were able to meander through the building and reminisce following the ceremony.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times The entrance to the library at LMCMS
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times The library displays memorabilia from the school’s 100 years.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Painter Henry Salem Hubbell attended the school when it was Lawrence High School. He donated his 1909 oil painting, “By the Fireside,” to the school in hopes of inspiring future growth of the arts there.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times KU’s Fraser Hall is seen through library windows at LMCMS, Nov. 12, 2023.

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Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Community members watch a presentation on the history of LMCMS.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times

Merchandise featuring the centennial logo was available for purchase. The celebration also has an online merch store. Sweatshirts, mugs, stickers and more that have the special logo, can be purchased on River Rat Skate Shop’s website. The online shop is open now through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times A mural of mustangs adorns the second floor hallway at LMCMS.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times
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Molly Adams (she/her), photojournalist and news operations coordinator for The Lawrence Times, can be reached at molly (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Check out more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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