Hastings Middle School will celebrate 50 years of history and a lot of school spirit next week, as the school hosts several events in honor of its golden anniversary.

Hastings Middle School will celebrate 50 years of history and a lot of school spirit next week, as the school hosts several events in honor of its golden anniversary.

“Basically, we’re going to have a 50th anniversary open house on Dec. 8, and a dedication,” Hastings principal Robb Gonda said. “During that time we’ll have seniors from the high school speak, as well as some of our eighth-grade officers, and there will be a proclamation read from the school board. We’ll also have a video showing off 50 years of history produced by one of our parents.

“We’ve invited alumni, staff and students, and we’re hoping that it will be a great event for people to share their memories of their time here, and to take a look into the future,” Gonda said.

The Hastings Junior High School first began teaching Upper Arlington children in September 1961, with 675 students, according to newspaper clippings from the era. While the school opened in September of that year, the building’s official dedication did not take place until Dec. 10, 1961 — hence this month’s ceremony.

About 15.8 acres of land were purchased in the 1950s from Lillian Kohr by the board of education, at a cost of $56,930. The school’s construction was paid for by a bond issue that voters passed on June 2, 1959.

“When it was first built, the building didn’t have a second floor, but there have been modifications over the years to accommodate for growth,” Gonda said. “I would say the integrity of the building’s interior is pretty much the same, because it’s been taken good care of.”

Parent Tom English, who is in the process of composing the video of the school’s history to go along with the open house, said he has stumbled across many interesting and memorable pieces of the school’s tradition.

“I’ve been going through old yearbooks and newspaper clippings,” English said. “The rivalry between Hastings and Jones is apparent throughout the whole time period, and it’s fun to watch how the styles change and how the school activities change over the years.

“I’ve come across mentions of donkey basketball games held at the school in the late 1970s, and you’ll see photos in the year books from that time of things like Farrah Fawcett posters, and talent shows where students dressed up like the Village People pop up,” he said. “It’s been fun to go back and relive my childhood.”

Gonda said Hastings students are particularly excited to unearth a time capsule during the event, which was sealed during the school’s 25th anniversary in 1986 and reportedly contains items such as yearbooks, student writings and photographs.

“We’re also going to put together a time capsule of our own, and will seal that during the ceremony,” Gonda said. “Our students are pretty excited to see what’s in the time capsule.

“With any kind of milestone like this, it’s about honoring the past as well as looking toward the future,” he said. “I think the students will have an opportunity to look at what their school was like in the 1960s.”

The public is invited to the celebration and open house, which will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, at the school, 1850 Hastings Lane. The day will include a formal recognition and rededication program, followed by an open house with student displays and refreshments.

More information can be found online at www.uaschools.org/hastings.