ALPENA — A picture of Pope Pius XII from a newspaper, a 50-cent piece, and a copy of the Greater Alpena Catholic Campaigner were among the items pulled out of a time capsule on Thursday in the gymnasium of the former Catholic Central High School.
More than 100 Catholic Central graduates, their families, and members of the public turned out for the time capsule reveal, which was also part of an open house for the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena, which has plans to revitalize the building into a new clubhouse.
The Boys and Girls Club of Alpena partnered with the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan to reveal the time capsule, which was discovered in April when part of the building was being demolished.
The event was a trip down memory lane for many of the school’s graduates.
Barry Canfield, from the Class of 1952, donned a blue and gold Catholic Central knit sweater for the event, Phillip Harris from the Class of 1959 attended the event with his wife, Bonnie Harris, while on summer vacation, and Judy Oliver, from the Class of 1960, carefully studied class photos she hadn’t seen before.
Marie Kaminski, from the Class of 1952 and Carol Clearwood from the Class of 1954 — the first four-year class to graduate from the high school — assisted Besser Museum officials in opening the time capsule and revealing its contents.
Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan Director Chris Witulski read from a document that showed Spence Brothers was the general contractor for Catholic Central High School and the total cost to build the school was $398,000.
Kaminski said parents worked really hard to raise the $400,000 needed to construct the high school, which opened its doors in 1950.
“I remember my mother, she was in charge of a fish fry that raised money — every Friday she worked on that to get this place going,” Kaminski said. “I wish she were here to see what’s going on now.”
The renovation of the building for the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena’s new home is expected to cost about $3.2 million. Officials said they still have about $1.25 million to raise and that construction on the project would begin once their funding has been raised.
“This facility will allow us to triple our space, expand our programming, and create new opportunities for youth in our community,” Jennifer Calery, board vice president for the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena, told those attending the event.
Calery said the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena’s mission is to enable and inspire all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as kind, productive, caring, and responsible citizens.
The revitalization project would include a culinary arts kitchen, a multimedia library, a science, technology, engineering, arts and math lab, a workforce development center, and a teen space for club members ages 12 to 18.
Calery said the teen space is important because it boosts membership numbers and gives teens their own space.
“That’s really important to our community because it actually increases your community’s high school graduation rates,” she said. “When you have a designated teen space, it reduces juvenile crime rates.”
Calery said they would like to have the project done in two years, but they are currently keeping an eye on the cost of construction materials and waiting for some of those costs to come down. She said they want to make sure the project can be completed at a cost that’s fiscally responsible.
The Boys and Girls Club of Alpena for more than 95 years has changed and saved young lives during their out-of-school time, Calery said.
She said club officials want every child in Alpena to be in a safe, constructive environment when they are not at home or in school. The club provides a safe haven for nearly 1,200 youth every year, she said, although there are more who need it.