Bridging the past with to the future, while taking care of the present. That's how members of the newly formed Cleora Alumni Foundation for Excellence in Education or CAFEE, believe is their goal.

The group, led by Bryson Knox Class of 2008, Cherry Redus Class of 1964, Allen Cunningham Class of 1969 and Joel Webb, whose family all attended Cleora, has a two-fold mission.

The group wants to preserve the history and integrity of the Cleora Public Schools WPA building, and to promote academic excellence and success within the school system.

The group's first goal - save and repurpose the WPA building, which served as the school's primary classroom space until the 2017-18 school year. 

Redus and others would like to see the facility, which dates back to September 1941, become a community center and a site for after school tutoring and enrichment programs, for Cleora area students.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, representatives from CAFEE will address their concerns with the Cleora School Board, in a meeting set for 7:30 p.m., at the school.

At that time Knox and others will present what has taken place in the last few weeks - including the formation of CAFEE, and efforts to raise funds - upwards of $10,000 to start, the group hopes to use to begin turning the facility into a community center.

Past, Present, Future

While some see an older building, Cunningham said, he sees potential for the future.

"It's not in that bad of shape to justify demolishing it," Cunningham said, adding the group would not only like to have classroom and meeting room space, but also develop a museum of sorts, to house all of the school's memorabilia.

Redus, a retired teacher, envisions a day when students will fill the halls again, playing chess, attending art classes, and taking part in a variety of enrichment programs.

"Everything is driven for the kids," Redus said. "Everybody within Cleora schools has such fond memories of the positive atmosphere, parent support and community support."

The group began forming its plan in June, after they noticed memorabilia being taken down from the walls of the WPA building.

Knox said when he asked current school officials why, he was told of possible plans to demolish the L-shaped portion of the building. Leaving behind the gym and the former office space.

"It's not that we're against them," Knox said. "We want to work with them."

Cunningham agreed.

"We want to compliment the new building, if we're given the chance," Cunningham said.  "We see this as a bridge - between the past, present and future. We just don't want to destroy the past."

For more information, persons interested may contact Redus at 918-671-5947 or send a private message through the group's Facebook page by searching Cleora Alumni Foundation for Excellence in Education."