The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation is planning a special book project to celebrate the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Oak Ridge Schools. The book will be a collection of memories as told by teachers and alumni across all classes from 1944-2018. The Foundation has identified people to serve as anchor authors for each of the 75 classes. Anchor authors have the option to share their memories, and they will help collect memories from classmates. Each class will submit two to three pages for publication in the book.

"This is a timely project to still be able to tell first-hand stories from the early beginnings and to cross-pollinate and historically savor and preserve the collected experiences from the first 75 years," said Benita Albert, Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation board member.

Albert, a retired math teacher, has found the project to be very rewarding while interviewing alumni and researching stories from the earliest years, a press release said.

The Foundation's Board approved the special project at its March board meeting. A kickoff meeting was hosted by the Foundation for all anchor authors in April. A few stories have already been submitted and many others are in the works. It is anticipated that the book will be about 250 pages long. In an effort to conserve any unpublished stories, the Foundation will offer a virtual archive where those stories can be accessed.

"We realized early on that this is an ambitious project and will require a tremendous amount of work and support from our community," said Jessica Steed, the Foundation’s executive director. "Besides our 75 anchor authors, we have partnered with Oak Ridge Schools, Iris Publishing, and the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association. In addition, many current and retired teachers are playing various roles from editing to serving as anchor authors."

The project was endorsed by the Oak Ridge Board of Education at its March meeting, and three of the BOE members are serving as anchor authors, the press release said. "This book will give one of our greatest assets, our alumni, an opportunity to stay connected with our schools and community, and it will provide a showcase for the continuing excellence of the Oak Ridge Schools," said Keys Fillauer, Board of Education chair.

Oak Ridge City Council member Jim Dodson has agreed to design the cover for the special book, the press release said. "This project is a wonderful way to celebrate 75 years of excellence in Oak Ridge Schools," said Barry Stephenson, the Foundation’s interim chair. "Not only will it enable alumni to share their stories, but it will also help them to reconnect with their alma mater, thus allowing for a line of communication to keep them aware of current developments."

For more information or to locate an anchor author, contact Jessica Steed at (865) 241-3667 or Jessica.steed@orpsef.org.