By Jordan Miller
CARROLLTON – The Carrollton Exempted Village School District had no idea the gymnasium they built in 1957 would be filled with so many memories 62 years later.
Nearly 50 former boys and girls basketball players returned one last time to take in a basketball game in the CHS gym, as the last game was played there Friday night against Salem.
Following the Warriors 63-50 victory, each former player in attendance was recognized.
People as young as Jacob Roberts, a 2018 graduate, to Dale Howell, a 1958 graduate, who played the first-ever game in the then-new gym.
“It means a lot [to be back in the gym],” Howell said. “A lot of good kids went through here.”
As for his favorite memory in the CHS gym, he said: “Playing with the guys, you know? Running around with them. I enjoyed it. I’ve always enjoyed it, for 60 years.”
The floor was open to fans and former players after the game to make one last shot in one of the hoops. Howell couldn’t pass on the opportunity. He may have missed on his first two attempts but the third time was the charm.
“That was nice,” the 78-year-old said as he walked away from the free-throw-line after making his shot. He added that Carrollton deserves the new school they’ll be in next season.
“They deserve it. This school has been good to a lot of kids. A lot of them graduated and had good times and got good jobs. I hope to see that kind of success in the next school.”
It’s been a place where celebrations have taken place; like when the Warriors celebrated their first wrestling state champion, Aidan Pasiuk, in 2017.
“In wrestling, with the most knowledgeable and supportive fans in the state, we constantly packed the house to have the loudest matches in the area,” Carrollton Athletic Director Jason Eddy said following the conclusion of Friday night’s basketball game during a ceremony to recognize former boys and girls basketball players. “In basketball, every opponent dreads playing in our small gym to face not only our team, but The Black Hole as well.”
The gym has seen the likes of Ali Poole and Kevin Merrick become the all-time scoring leaders for the boys and girls basketball teams.
As Eddy continued, he spoke about non-athletic events that have taken place in the CHS gym.
“This gym has seen countless homecoming dances, proms and awards ceremonies,” he said.
“The Browns and Steelers have played basketball here, and unfortunately, so have a bunch of donkeys,” Eddy said, drawing a chuckle from the crowd. “From French soirees to community Halloween parties, the school, and this gym in particular, has been the center of activity in Carrollton for over half a century.”
It’s been packed full of residents for choir and band concerts; it’s sold out for the Harlem Globetrotters. The gym has even been a place where people have come together to celebrate a former student’s life.
The crowd grew silent as Eddy acknowledged the ultimate sacrifice one of their own made eight years ago.
“Certainly the most poignant moment that showed what being a Carrollton Warrior is all about, is when this gym held the calling hours and funeral for Lance Corporal Terry Wright in 2011 (Wright was a 2008 graduate of CHS),” Eddy said, in a now somber gymnasium. “As sad as that week was, there couldn’t have been a more suitable location than this gym for our community to show their pride and admiration for one of their own. It’s certainly a moment we will never forget.”
As this 62-year chapter closes at 252 3rd St. NE, another one will begin this fall at the new Carrollton 6-12 school located on 332 near the football field.
It’ll be a place to create new memories and to celebrate even more triumphs, and yes, defeats, because that’s something that happens in life.
Here’s to being a Carrollton student, a resident and most importantly, a Warrior!