Please click on "Sign our Guest Book" below and tell us your S.O.B. story...please include:
  • What class you graduated from
  • Your E-mail address
  • Your favorite memories of going to school in the "Old Building"
  • Why you are glad to be a part of Saving Our Building!

  Diana (Gasko) Keener
Friday, August 24, 2012
Graduated in 1953.
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  Liz Baskerville Beahm
Sunday, March 11, 2012
I am a lifetime Sarasota resident, a proud alumnus of the Class of 1970 and very excited to be on the committee for this fantastic endeavor. Our class president, Mike Hartenstine, introduced me to Tom Koski, who wanted a website to help get the word out about the SHS Alumni Auditorium project. I did the website for our 40th reunion and I readily agreed to help. 

It is beyond imagination that our beloved SHS Old Building could even come close to no longer being a part of the Sarasota historic landscape. And I was incredulous that our fellow Sailors have not been more involved to carve our mark on the building where we spent so many hours and have so many memories.

Back in the day, I remember that the girls had to dress appropriately, which in 1967-70 meant DRESSES and SKIRTS! The only time we could wear slacks to school was if the weather was very cold, and…we had to wear the slacks UNDER our skirts. Really!!  (It could get pretty cold going back and forth between the old and the new building.) The heaters in the old building were the old fashioned registers under the windows and I barely remember that there were working A/C’s, so we did a bit of suffering in that building…to include academia. I remember my Spanish 4 oral final exam question in Mr. William’s class: “What is your opinion of the Vietnam war?” Que eseso? Socorro! 

I would like to thank Tom Koski for his vision and for spearheading the SHS Alumni Auditorium project and I send kudos to Ringling College of Art and Design and our Auditorium Committee members who have stepped forth to make this dream a reality. I know 2.5 million sounds like a lot of money, especially to 'regular folks" like me, but every little bit adds up and I plan to join my class of 1970 to give whatever we can. It all counts! Someday, we can walk into the foyer, turn to the right and attend an event OUR AUDITORIUM. Get your class involved NOW! We can do this Sailors!
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  Richard (Dick) Thielen
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Although I left Sarasota to pursue my career in Boston, I have been fortunate enough to return to my “home town” on numerous occasions during the years and establish a winter residence. During that time I watched with interest the various proposals for either demolishing our beloved high school building or retaining it. Fortunately, because of the building’s iconic status, and the vision of many local “save the building “ activists, the structure and parking area will be spared.
To me, the High School holds so many memories of growing up during my formulative years in Sarasota beginning in 1947 when my family moved to this area. Relocating from Minnesota to the north end of Sarasota, I began at Bay Haven in 2nd grade (Mrs. Taylor), continued as part of the first 7th and 8th grade classes at the then new “ Sarasota Junior High School”, and finished as the last freshmen (9th grade) class at Sarasota High School (we were again freshmen during the 10th grade) and graduated in 1958. These were incredibly formable years for me and I hold those early life memories and experiences and friendships as both important and meaningful.
I am very pleased to participate, as part of the Class of ’58, with the Alumni Group in providing the funding to help renovate the High School, and in particular to join in the naming opportunity for the Alumni Auditorium. I am hopeful that many others of the school’s alumni will also be inspired to provide whatever financial assistance they can to complete our goal of raising $2.5 million. Importantly, the renovated building’s use will significantly add to the cultural base of Sarasota by the creation of both an Arts Education Center and a Visual Arts Museum in collaboration with the Ringling College of Art, also a long standing cultural icon in Sarasota. What better way to memorialize our High School than to provide a monument for continuing education and adding to Sarasota’s recognition as the cultural capital of Southwest Florida.
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  Margi Baskerville Nanney
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I am THRILLED to be a part of this great effort to preserve our beloved SHS...fondly known as "THE OLD BUILDING".... I am a proud member of the CLASS OF 1972...there are so many memories my sister Liz and I have of this school and our lives growing up in Sarasota.

My best memories are of the lessons I learned from my favorite teacher during my years at SHS...Mr. Harold Davis, fondly known as "H.O."...you know, we wrote each other Christmas cards for more than 30 years after I graduated. He has left us now but I attribute my graphic arts, advertising career path to him...he taught me so many skills. I remember the first time I went to his art class on the top floor of the "old building"....we were sitting along the back wall and I noticed these tiny little multi-colored "beads" all over the floor in one corner. The room smelled musty like old books. He was just converting it to the art room and it was a "work in progress" as the room had been closed off for a number of years. Later I found out these small, colored "beads" were actually (kinda gross) cockroach poop...the critters had eaten the different colored tempera paint...funny how that memory has never left me!

You can bet the CLASS OF 1972 will get behind this Auditorium project in a big way. Thanks for listening...ONCE A SAILOR, ALWAYS A SAILOR...Anchors Aweigh!

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  Wendy Surkis
Sunday, March 4, 2012
What a nostalgic moment ... walking into your high school ...looking around ... talking with classmates… sharing stories from the days when you were in your teens. Yes, I was right there with you. I had the pleasure of seeing wonderful smiles and hearing great tales about the days of being a 'Sailor'.

The cherished memories each of you recalled and the stories that were told brought a smile to my face. This high school has a wonderful history and you are a part of that history. 

If you or your class reunion has taken a tour the Old Building, you probably remember me... I am the woman who welcomed you into the building, showed you and your classmates the Virtual Tour and the model, which revealed the details of the 'rebirth' of the beautiful Sarasota High School. We will be preserving the historic designation of your alma mater while transforming the interior for its new life.

To accomplish this enormous task, we must raise the necessary funds, not only for the renovation of the building, but also to fund an endowment for educational programs. We are proud to tell you that we have raised more than half the money ... We are now asking you for your financial support!! The 'Sailors' can make this dream a reality!

Please consider making this effort through a one-time gift, a pledge over a 3-5 year period or through gifts that increase your lifetime income. To discuss gifts of stock, life insurance, IRA roll-overs or creating a legacy by including this project in your estate planning, please call Mary Lee Richey, Development Officer at 941-309-4732.  

Just for a moment, think about how proud you will be on Opening Day, when you enter the school that you remember so fondly, knowing that you helped to give a new life to this special place.  Your generosity will be giving many others the opportunity to learn, to grow, to enjoy and to create fond memories, very much like your own. 

Wendy G. Surkis
Ringling College Trustee and President, SMOA
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