Tomlinson Middle School in Lawton is making plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary on Nov. 15. Principal Laura Puccino invites all current and former students of the school to the event, which is being built around the theme, "Honor, Spirit, Pride."
Puccino expects more than 500 teachers, alumni and friends for a late-afternoon reception, which will take place on school grounds, 702 NW Homestead Dr.
The celebration will be a come-and-go event that will include food and beverages. Coordinators hope that it will be a chance for Tomlinson's alumni and friends to reunite and reminisce about their days at the school. It will also allow alumni to see how much the school has changed over the years.
"Students who are currently attending Tomlinson can understand the value of a good education by looking at the successes of past alumni that Tomlinson has helped to nurture and mold," Puccino said.
In conjunction with the celebration, Tomlinson staff is seeking contact information for former students from the past 50 years, as well as loans of Tomlinson-related memorabilia to place in displays highlighting the celebration. Anyone with information on former students, or who has memorabilia they would be interested in sharing is encouraged to call Marcia Baden at the school at 580/585-6416.
In addition to memorabilia and contact information, Puccino said the school is looking for business partners to help sponsor the event. Tomlinson has already partnered with a few local businesses, but needs others, especially since such a large turnout is expected.
Tomlinson is one of the oldest secondary schools in Lawton. Built as a junior high school - Lawton's second - it first opened its doors on Sept. 3, 1957, to 926 seventh, eighth and ninth graders. Since its inception, Tomlinson has seen a diverse group of alumni pass through its halls, including such future NFL stars as Will Shields and Mike Minter.
The original building was declared structurally unsound in 1991 due to shifting soil and was subsequently demolished, although the original gymnasium still stands. Tomlinson was rebuilt and students began attending classes here in 1994.
Tomlinson became a middle school at the start of the 2006-2007 academic year as a result of the district's conversion from junior highs to middle schools. Now, instead of grades 7-9, Tomlinson serves Lawton school children in grades 6-8. Just as they did originally, students who attend Tomlinson today go on to finish their studies at Lawton High School.