Boarding school alumni stay connected
By Kevin Barnett/Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — A historical marker located on the campus of Sapulpa Senior High School is all there is to tell passers-by that the campus was once the site of the Euchee Mission boarding school.
The boarding school may be long gone, but the connections made among the students have endured.
“We were like a family… we grew up together,” said reunion organizer Eugene Leitka.
Leitka, who has spent the past years collecting and compiling stories to preserve the history of the school and the students said he helped to organize the reunion in 1998, which turned into the yearly meeting.
For the past two decades, alumni of the boarding school have used the annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Festival weekend as there standing reunion dates.
“When we first started [the reunions], there was a very high interest but as the years pass participation is beginning to dwindle,” said alumnus Jimmy Anderson.
Anderson, now an ordained minister, said what he remembered most about those days spent at the Mission were the friends he made.
“We all had duties we had to do but we worked together and we would helped one another,” he said.
The Mission got its start when the Presbyterian Mission Board made plans to open a school for the Euchee Natives in the area.
With land and funds provided by the Creek Council, the school was opened in 1894 and welcomed about 50 students.
Until the United Sates Indian Office (early Bureau of Indian Affairs) took control of the school in 1928, the school was entirely funded by the Creek tribe, as it was known then.
The boarding school was closed in 1947. The land and buildings were sold to school district for public school use.
According to Anderson, the reunions will continue but locales may change in the coming years.
“We have some people that just aren’t able to make that trip anymore,” he said.
Currently plans for the next reunion are being planned for New Mexico in order to include an alumnus that has not been able to attend the past couple of years due to health issues.1 comment