‘So long, my Hudson High’

Longtime Hudson Life writer reflects on demolished school building

by Michele Collins 

I knew it was going to happen – that the Hudson High School I attended – was being torn down. I had even gone to the “say goodbye” day held at the school at 77 N. Oviatt St. last year with my daughter. But a couple of weeks ago, when I turned down Oviatt Street and looked to my left, I had to catch my breath. I wasn’t prepared for my reaction of seeing my school in rubble. I pulled over my car and sat for a few minutes in shock.

There it was. Well, there it wasn’t. My high school was now a pile of bricks with an open view to the new Hudson Middle School. I sat for a moment and reflected. Was it the school building I missed? Or was it the ability to drive by or go inside and remember all that had occurred inside that building?

The Hudson School District razed the former Hudson Middle School, once the district’s high school, after the John and Alison Quagliata Family Foundation offered a $710,000 donation to preserve the property for school use rather than repurpose the front portion of the building and some of the surrounding land for housing. Photo by J. Stringer

For my family, the original Hudson High School, then turned Hudson Middle School, holds a multitude of memories.

The bank of glass windows where, during summer cheerleading practices, we watched our reflections and tried to get arm motions in sync. The lot where my brother and I parked – in a prime spot because he was two years older than me – and shared our high school drama before going inside. The commons where my little crew of friends laughed and talked, planning our weekends and trying to figure out which parties the boys we had crushes on would be at.

The auditorium where I played my flute in the band and where, years later, my sons Jake and Joe performed in band concerts and my daughter, Hannah (now a singer and songwriter), first belted out a Taylor Swift song during the middle school talent show. The gym where I cheered for basketball games and later where my older daughters served as camp counselors for HCER summer programs.

The rooms where my sister Jennifer taught French for many years and where Mr. Swope, my English teacher, told me that I had a talent for writing and should consider a career in journalism. (Thank you, I took your advice!)

I knew, however, the school was old and outdated. And, I had to admit that I was glad my children would be in the modern Hudson High School building built in 1992. 

I guess I didn’t think it meant my high school might eventually be scrapped altogether.

I knew I wasn’t the only one who had such an emotional reaction to the school’s demolition. When I recently visited a friend and her husband, both Hudson High grads, the first thing they said was, “Did you see what they did to our school? It’s just gone!”

We then spent the evening reminiscing about our time there, laughing about our antics and sharing stories about recent experiences in that building with our own children. Like so many things in life, it’s not the physical place, but what took place inside that matters.

So long, my original Hudson High School, your building might be gone, but our memories of you will never be forgotten. ∞

Featured Photo: Michele Collins was a cheerleader at the old Hudson High School prior to its longtime use as a middle school. Photo submitted