Forty years ago, EHOVE was a cornfield of dreams.
Today, the vocational education center is booming with students and technology.
Former and present teachers, staff, administrators, board members and students gathered Sunday to commemorate the schools 40 years of existence with brunch, door prizes and slide show reminiscing.
"A lot has happened from what started as a cornfield in 1967 to what we have today," said Dave Comparette, Perkins.
Comparette was a member of the first graduating class to complete the carpentry program in 1970.
"It was just an open cornfield," he said, shaking his head. "I remember walking backwards from the parking lot because of the way the wind ripped through here. There weren't walkways. It was nothing but mud."
Jim Multcher, one of the firstadministrators, said the EHOVE board formed in 1966, but didn't break ground until March 1968.
"We hoped to have three buildingsconstructed by the start of school that year, but it didn't happen," he said. "We had aterrible spring and a wet summer, soconstruction was delayed. School ended up being delayed for three weeks so we could get the building up."
Mutchler said during those weeks, a lot of the programs were temporarily located off campus.
"We had about 250 students attend," he said. "Mostly juniors, but a few seniors who came here for more in-depth training. A lot of students saw it as a new adventure; they still do. The difference back then wasstudents spent about four and a half hours in vocational labs because they only needed 16 credits to graduate. Today, because of state expectations, that lab time's been cut by about 50 percent."
Comparette, said his class was bussed to Monroeville while waiting for windows to be installed at EHOVE.
"Our carpentry class helepd complete some of the work as part of our labexperience," he said. "The carpentry lab -- we installed equipment right off the truck as it was delivered and it remains in the same place today."
Virgil Siebert, 92, was one of the eight founding board members.
One of the two remaining, Siebert traveled from Maryland to visit the school he had a hand in creating.
"We had a lot of fun," he said. "It was all for the kids."
Siebert's son, Craig, said the non-traditional curriculum helped kids who didn't fit into the traditional curriculum.
"EHOVE provided many things forstudents to do, other than the traditionalcurriculum," he said. "He (Siebert) believed in creating that outlet. If I lived here, I'd work here with the ambition to follow in hisfootsteps."
Bette Wolfram, Monoroeville, EHOVE"s first clerk-treasurer, said she came on board the night the 125 acre property waspurchased and remembered celebrating when the board received a $9 million grant.
"We were so excited," she said. "Iremember a cake was made and looked just like that check, made out to EHOVE and everything. It was a great moment."
Mutchler, who taught agriculture business courses said in the beginning EHOVE'smain focus was on agriculture trades.
"There were eight instructors teaching Ag classes," he said. "I came on board with EHOVE because I had a certificate for Ag. Business and very few people had one in 1968. We were the third career center to open in Ohio. Not a lot of people knew aboutvocational education in 1968 either, so there really wasn't anything to compare us to."
Comparette, remained active with EHOVE after graduation as a board member, asubstitute teacher and now as an aide, helping out in various trades programs. He still keeps in touch with former EHOVEcarpentry constructor Ray Clark, 83, who retired from EHOVE in 1990 and lives in Texas. "Every year in July -- that's when his birthday is -- he calls a dozen or so of us, former students and teachers to have dinner at Applebees," Comparette said.
Multcher, who remained active as an instructor and assistant superintendent, retiring in 1991, said he believes EHOVE has prospered for two reasons.
"One," he said, "is because of the graduates and two, the support from the community and businesses in our area. They're looking for good graduates, and if we provide good graduates, we're going to be successful."