Oxford Estates in Tillsonburg is hoping to preserve its Rolph Street School heritage by creating two display cases in the apartment building that will showcase school artifacts.
“It’s a great opportunity for former teachers and students not only to declutter their homes, but to assure the preservation and continued appreciation of their Rolph Street School memorabilia,” said retired librarian and author Matt Scholtz, who now lives at Oxford Estates.
Scholtz is helping to spearhead a community effort to find artifacts for the display cases.
“Matt and I are sort of working to see what people have from Rolph Street that we could put in there,” said Leslie Kamps, Oxford Estates superintendent. “Especially if it’s from very early on, that would be very cool.”
“That’s the beauty of this display case – it’s a wonderful way to preserve it and you can still see it,” said Scholtz. “You know it’s got a good home and if you ever want to see it again… there it is.
Scholtz has asked his two sons who went to school there for some artifacts. He also spoke to one of his son’s teachers who donated an old cricket bat to help start the collection.
“We have the old P.A. system, which is really cool. They’re on their way,” said Kamps, who attended RSPS 45 years ago, and now lives in an apartment that held her Grade 6 classroom.
“It’s really surreal for me. I remember what window I sat beside, so I can literally put an X on the floor where my desk sat.
“When you’re walking down the hall, as my niece said to me – she went there as well – you feel like you’re walking past your younger self. I can picture myself going up and down the stairs, I can picture myself skipping in the playground. I still remember the hill up and around the school for cross-country, which I loved.
“They’ve done such a fantastic job of maintaining the school look.”
“When we walked into one of the places and looked around, my wife said, ‘I could live here.’ And then we did and we’re very happy with it,” said Scholtz. “I really love it here. I think the best word is content.
“I was really impressed with the care that they did – I always thought they would demolish the school and build something. But they retained it – the history is still there. There’s a nice mix of old and new. There’s enough there to remind you of what it used to look like, and enough that you’re not living in a school. A good mix.”
If you have any items you would like to donate to Oxford Estates’ Rolph Street School displays, email Matt Scholtz at firstname.lastname@example.org.