Memories etched in glass

Published 7:19 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

Steve Foster, a former student of the school, holds up the pane from 1938.

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

We often use the expression that memories are “etched in our minds.” Well, in Lowndes County there are memories etched on glass.

These memories come in the form of the signatures of chemistry class students from Lowndes County High School from as far back as 1938.

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According to Dr. Daniel Boyd, Lowndes County school superintendent, etched glass windowpanes from Lowndes County Middle School were found in the old agriculture shop, which was Lowndes County High School at one time.

He said he and Assistant Superintendent Jason Burroughs, “in an effort to preserve history,” framed the glass panes that will be housed at Lowndes County Middle School.

Boyd explained, “Paraffin was placed on the glass, and students wrote their names in the paraffin and placed hydrofluoric acid in the etched letters of the glass. The acid corroded the glass in the shape of the letters written on the paraffin.”

Names that are easily read from the Class of ’38 include Mary Opal Ballard, Frances Crenshaw, James Hammonds, Joe Allen Lee, Lillian Taylor, L.C. Whetstone and J. F. McLeod Jr.
From the Class of ’59: Joy Gingles, Bruce McCarty, John Norman, Bobby Overstreet, Richard Williamson and Robert E. Childs.

Steve Foster, president of the Lowndes County Board of Education, was one of the students who participated in the tradition.

He said, “In the chemistry lab at the end of the year, we all looked forward to the time we could do this.”

He said there were probably 30 or 40 etched windowpanes at one time. There are six left: 38, 41, 42, 48, 59, and 77. Foster said there were a few celebrities mixed in. He noted from the Class of ’59 that Richard Williamson caught passes from Joe Namath and just retired as Carolina Panthers receivers’ coach.

“I appreciate Dr. Boyd preserving those,” he said.