At the close of the school day on December 18, 2009, the old rusty doors of Kate Griffin Junior High School were bolted and locked. The hallways that just a couple weeks previously echoed with the chatter and laughter of young teens, the slamming of metal lockers and the barks from teachers will now enter the provinces of our fond – but fading memories.
The building has a great deal of history. Thousands and thousands of students passed through its doors, through the unique grouping of 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th grades, on their paths to continued education. On the thousands of journeys through our junior high, many friends were made, some for a lifetime.
The school was named for its first principal, who left a lasting impression on Meridian's educational community.
Former school superintendent Dr. H. M. Ivy, in a short oral history of the school, was remembered as saying, "In Miss Kate Griffin, everyone who came in contact with her had an exemplification of what a life of service means. Every boy, every girl, every teacher, every individual who contacted Miss Kate Griffin was to her the most important individual anywhere at any given time."
Most of the structures that now stand at Kate Griffin were built in the '20's, the '50's, and the last in the'60's. Over its lifetime, the school has housed grades ranging from seven to twelve, and was once a grades nine through twelve senior high school.
Kate Griffin Junior High remembered:
The 7th and 8th grades were considered the lower division and the 9th and 10th grades were –what else– the upper division. Even though the buildings were joined there was a distinctive division and walking from one division to the other during the school year was frowned upon, an unwritten taboo.
Some of the students, mostly boys, rode to school on motor scooters, some rode bikes, others walked and still others rode those damnable yellow buses. There were dances in the gym, student-held variety shows in the auditorium, and moments caught between classes for short conversations with other students. I remember my years at K.G. as an overall enjoyable, interesting experience.