The Bexley City School District's 100th anniversary celebration brought together students, alumni, staff and community members Sept. 17 at Bexley High School's Carlton Smith Memorial Stadium.
The festivities included the presentation of Bexley High School Distinguished Alumni Awards, music, food trucks and activities for children.
The event commemorated May 7, 1917, when the Franklin County Commissioners appointed five residents to form the Bexley Board of Education, said Marlee Snowdon, a current board member.
"In a letter the board wrote to the community that year, they stated their intent was to make Bexley schools a model in educational programs and teacher training and asked the community for their support," Snowdon said. "From its inception and continuing to this day, Bexley schools have enjoyed that enthusiasm."
The celebration also served as an official welcome for Superintendent Kimberly Miller, who joined the district on Aug. 1.
"At this 100-year mark, we have a great opportunity to look back and reflect on not only what has made this a great school district, but truly a great community," Miller said. "We are educating the next generation of thinkers, artists, musicians, problem-solvers, school leaders, national leaders ... and we will only do that when we adopt a growth mindset."
Bexley Education Foundation representatives Jennifer Bunker and Betsy Farrar presented Distinguished Alumni Awards to Richard Nafzger, class of 1959; Sue Ramsey, 1974; Joel Goldman, 1981; Daniel Pink, 1982, Dr. Jeffrey E. Janis, 1989; and Lisa Switkin, 1992. Nafzger, Ramsey and Goldman accepted their award in person.
Goldman is an HIV/AIDS advocate and fundraiser who is the first managing director of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. He has led outreach projects, fundraising campaigns and produced entertainment industry events that have raised millions of dollars for pediatric AIDS and other causes.
"I think the reason I've done so well is because the friends I made here" in Bexley, Goldman said. "It just goes to show, this is a community that never leaves you, no matter where you go or how far you get."
Nafzger directed the ground-processing television teams for NASA's Apollo 7-17 space missions and provided similar leadership for the Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz and the Shuttle program.
"This is just a wonderful, wonderful school system," Nafzger said of the Bexley schools. "It taught me and my classmates hard work, dedication and to never give up on the goal you're trying to achieve."
Ramsey was the first woman to receive a basketball scholarship from Indiana University. In 2015, she retired from a 35-year coaching career, including 20 years as Ashland University's head women's basketball coach.
Ramsey said her Bexley schools education "served as a springboard to all I've been able to accomplish and all that's come into my life since then. ... It all started here with wonderful people and the wonderful community that I grew up in."
The celebration culminated with a "Script 100" formation on the football field led by Bexley High School's band.