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Memorial Recreation Center celebrates 20-year history

July 21, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION

Memorial Recreation Center celebrates 20-year history



A celebration Friday night to commemorate the 20-year history of the Memorial Recreation Center in Hagerstown carried special meaning for some who attended.

The center on West North Avenue was opened in 1980 to offer after-school academic and recreation programs. Before that, the building housed the only black school in the county.

Leon Brumback remembers being bused from Hancock to the school because one-room black schools around the county were being closed, he said.

Because the building has served as a recreation center and a historical landmark, it creates a sense of unity among people who have been affiliated with it, said Brumback, who was master of ceremonies at the banquet Friday night.

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"It's a great reason to celebrate," said Sherry Ferguson, a member of the center's board of directors and a volunteer at the facility.

About 75 volunteers were to be honored for their work at the banquet.

Ferguson helps organize tutoring programs in math and reading at the center. She is now scheduling tutoring classes for the upcoming school year as well as getting a new 20-terminal computer lab up and running.

"It has its challenges because we all work full-time jobs." said Ferguson. You're time is always split. But we need to give back to the community."

Besides honoring volunteers, Christella Keyes and Ruth Monroe received special recognition for their work at the center.

Monroe, the director of the center, has been associated with the facility since its inception. She was honored for her dedication and work in keeping the center running.

Keyes presided over the board during the start-up of the recreation center. At the time, there were some YMCA programs in the building, and the Memorial Recreation Center wanted to continue what was being offered there, Keyes said.

Keyes now lives in Forestville, Md., but she comes back to town periodically to visit the center.

"It's wonderful. This is the first time I've been up in the building for a few years," Keyes said.

The celebration will continue today with an evening of games, music, food, karate demonstrations and vendors at Wheaton Park on North Street.

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