Remember the games in the high school gym in Reddick, with the stage on the far south side, and the cheerleaders standing in front, chanting slogans to inspire the Bulldog boys teams?
Remember the orange and black colors, with the round-roofed gym that looked like a vaulted European renaissance-era citadel on the inside reminiscent of the churches of old?
Remember the electronic scoreboard alongside names of the basketball team players and the wooden ticket booth outside, along with a specially mounted metal flip frame to look at pictures of former Reddick Bullodgs through the years?
If those things stir memories, perhaps a trip down memory lane is in order at the Reddick High School homecoming in the historic Reddick gymnasium, Oct. 7.
The event will go from noon to 10 p.m., with a senior alumni luncheon from noon to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 7:30 p.m, all catered by Cherry Red Roasters of Dwight.
There will be a cash bar and dinner music provided by Mark Pickles of Gardner from 5 to 10 p.m.
“We want an emotional connection with the alumni,” said Rich Curl, who organized the event.
“We want people to come by and experience it and touch it and be proud of it,” Curl said of the gym, the only major structure remaining of the old Reddick High School.
“It’s not gone,” he continued. “It’s still here.”
The event, open to any former Reddick School student or any former Reddick Elementary School student including those who attended after the high school was converted to a grade school after the Reddick-Union Hill-Campus-Essex school district merged with Herscher Unit 2 in 1988.
Since that time, the grade school has also gone the way of the dinosaur, but the quonset-hut gymnasium, built in 1951, not only remains standing, but is in excellent shape.
Curl said the Herscher Unit 2 school district maintained the gym well for the Reddick “Cardinals” who played games there for two decades after RHS became defunct.
The school building itself was erected in 1929, although Reddick High School dates back to 1921.
A special series of carved stones from the school have been preserved in front of the current buildings now owned and maintained by the Reddick Fire Department.
They are located precisely at the entrance of the former high school building, now grass, trees and shrubbery. The building was torn down save for the ag shop and gym by the Herscher school district.
Curl said the purpose of the evening, which will include historic memorabilia from both the Herscher Area and the Essex Historical societies, will be to make the school gym as close as possible to the old high school gym.
“It’s all about the R.U.C.E. Community,” said Curl in a news release promoting the event.
“When the gym was being used by the schools, community turnout was big,” Curl continued.
“The Reddick High School years alone had Reddick, Union Hill, Campus, Essex, Shannon Shores, and all the farms in between supporting the gym and creating lifelong memories. The same can be said after consolidation with the Reddick Grade School. It is an important, much-loved building for the entire R.U.C.E. community.”
Homecoming 2017 is a fund-raiser/reunion event. A general admission ticket lasts from noon until 10:00 p.m. Tickets for the evening dinner are being sold until Sept. 29.
The Senior Alumni Luncheon starts at noon and caters to the RHS classes ’29 to ’69.
They are honoring the RHS Class of 1967 this year. For ticket prices and additional information, visit the official website at: www.reddickhomecoming.com
“If we can recreate the feel of the gym to a time when it was at its high, and people have a great time – we have done our job,” Curl said.