Mystery solved

July 6, 2014
Marching out of Bobtown Elementary School in November 1984 are second-graders, from left, Alicia McGraw, April Pratt, Jennifer Ansell, Jeremy Sanders, Brian Bierer and Christie LeMasters.

Christie LeMasters Hedrick knew something was up when she was tagged on Facebook 15 times last Monday. “What’s this? No one ever contacts me,” she related with a hearty laugh.

What was up was the Mystery Photo on the front page of the Observer-Reporter showing Hedrick and five other second-graders marching out the doors of Bobtown Elementary School in the Southeastern Greene School District.

“I’m pretty sure that was picture day, and I’m wearing one of those God-awful seventies shirts,” Hedrick said. “I think we were on our way out to the playground for recess.”

Hedrick and her husband, Bruce, have been married for 18 years, and the older of their two children graduated from Carmichaels High School this year.

We received two dozen emails and phone calls about this week’s photo, and most of them agreed on the identification of the six members of the Mapletown High School Class of 1995. April Pratt, second from left, lives in Waynesburg and works as a registered nurse at Golden Living Center in Waynesburg. Brian Bierer also still lives in Greene County. He and his brother, Dave, are hosts of “RD1 Outdoors,” a hunting and fishing adventure show currently airing three times a week on the Pursuit channel.

Alicia McGraw heard about the photo from her best friend of 30 years ago, Christie Hedrick. McGraw, the mother of two daughters, 18 and 13, is also still in the area. She lives in Clarksville and works at Wal-Mart.

It was Dave Bierer who contacted us to identify his brother. He thinks the picture might have been taken just after Bobtown Elementary School’s renovation was completed in 1984.

Christie Campbell, who took the photo, agrees. “I used to cover Southeastern Greene School Board at the time,” said Campbell, who recently retired from the Observer-Reporter. “There were three elementary schools then – Penn Pitt, Glassworks and Bobtown – and they were trying to consolidate them,” and did so at Bobtown.

Campbell said there were lively school board meetings then, with some residents complaining about the high cost of renovation: $1.2 million. That would hardly renovate much in today’s dollars.

She recalls one resident’s tirade: “He said, ‘Why do first- and second-graders need a library when they can’t even read yet?”

Another email we received also confirmed the Bobtown renovation. Jennifer Ansell wrote: “The picture was taken to show off the new addition to the school, which we are walking in front of. I believe it was school picture day because I have a school picture of me in that sweater.

“I am currently taking the summer off as I have gone back to Fairmont State University. I will start at the School of Nursing there in August. I have just had a baby boy (June 10) and I am enjoying my time with him. I currently live in Morgantown, W.Va.”

Look for an other Mystery Photo in next Monday’s Observer-Reporter.

Park Burroughs has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1972. He is the winner of numerous state and regional awards for feature, column and editorial writing. He is the author of two books, “Enter, With Torches: Recollections of a Grumpy Old Editor,” and "Washington County Murder and Mayhem." He retired in September 2012 but continues to contribute to the O-R’s news pages.

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