The Last Days of Central A photographic tour of the end of an era

A familiar view from the elementary school

I spent 13 years of my life attending a small school in a small town.

Central Academy at 300 Hale Street in Macon, Mississippi.

From kindergarten through graduation, my classmates and I explored the halls and playgrounds of this familiar place, in the footsteps of our older siblings and parents before us.

It was a good place.

I couldn't resist getting one more drink

In spring 2017, the school administration announced that Central would be closing its doors forever. Enrollment had been declining for many years. Many parents had seen the writing on the wall and had withdrawn their children from Central and sent them to schools in neighboring areas, which accelerated the inevitable decline.

In August 2016, I had made arrangements to tour the school with my camera, hoping to document the school while it was still in operation. As luck would have it, the day I took these photos was the last day of summer before classes began. The classrooms were freshly arranged and prepared for what would be the final classes attending this beloved little school.

It was my first time back in the building since 1999.

I wasn't prepared for the emotional impact that it had on me. I remembered everything. Apparently thirteen years in a place buries sensory memories deep in the psyche of the developing mind.

Every nook and cranny, every smell, every angle of light that came through the windows and how it landed on the tile floors. It was like going back in time.

A flood of memories washed me away on a wave of nostalgia.

I seek to create an emotional impact with my photography and to express my emotional reaction to the subject in the images I create. It is my sincere hope that these photos convey in some small measure the feeling I had when I took them.

These swings have launched a million dreams and contain as many memories

The little things that matter

As I explored I realized it was the small things that remained eternal. The clock in the hallway of the elementary school. The paint color on the bathroom walls. The weird fiberglass swirly material in the ceiling. Each object and feature seemed to shake loose a new memory from the tree of time.

I remember staring at these pictures for many cumulative hours over the years
I vividly remember hiding a glass vial stinkbomb under that carpet in 7th grade, for example...
the hidden backstage area where generations of actors and others have left their mark :)

Do you remember what it was like to be small?

With a whole life ahead of you and a world to discover?

To the many years of graduates

In memory of Vikings who have gone to Valhalla before us

In loving gratitude to the many people who dedicated their lives to providing a quality education to the children of CA

Thank you.

Your work is now done, but your impact will remain.

To all of the Vikings out there, I honor you today.

My hope is that these photos will trigger happy memories and help bring closure to you, the many generations of people who walked these halls.

My family has a deep history in this place. My grandmother was a teacher and reading tutor here. My mother was a high school teacher here. Multiple family members graduated here before me. I know this is true of so many who attended here.

It is the end of an era.

Hail to thee, Academy

In the heart of Noxubee

Born of dreams and visions true

Dedication, too.

As the Vikings -- men of old

We go forth in ventures bold

Learning, working, playing by

The principles set high.

Central, Central, we love you

For your victories, standards, too.

May you ever noble be

Alma Mater, Hail to thee!

1970

Words: Mrs. Ann Ford Barrett and Mrs. Florence Futvoye Ford

Music: Mrs. Ann Boswell Adams

Credits:

Images copyright 2017 Jamie Seed Photography

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