OSWEGO - The Oswego City School District (OCSD) has been a second home to superintendent Dr. Dean Goewey so an important task he has taken on is to preserve the history and memories behind the educational institution.
Connected to the district since his father, Donald, was principal of Charles E. Riley Elementary School, Dr. Goewey said the task of preserving OCSD’s history is personal. He said a historic Board of Education table in a yearbook from 70 years ago and while the table had remained in the district for several decades, it recently had been restored. That table was one of his first memories of the district when the education center was located on West Third Street in the 1960s.
“That’s the stuff we need to preserve,” Dr. Goewey said. “That would have been history lost forever. You need to respect and honor that.”
When he became superintendent in 2015, Dr. Goewey said the availability of yearbooks were also sporadic, but with the help of district staff members, current yearbook staff and community members, there are only a few years missing from his collection in the district office. Formerly called The MurMur, the yearbook was first published in 1922. Years missing include 1923-1925, 1927, 1929, 1937, 1947, 1973, 1979, 1981 and 2017. While there may not have been a yearbook published in some of the mid-1920s years, Goewey said perhaps the rooted Oswego community could assist with locating missing yearbooks to complete the collection.
Not too long ago, Dr. Goewey came across materials which detailed why and how the district became known as Buccaneers, as in the mid-1950s it was decided a mascot was needed. While the Indians or Pathfinders were considered, the Buccaneers were ultimately chosen, as not to closely match the rivalry with the neighboring small city school district of Fulton.
Other interesting facts learned in his recent research, he said, include when blue and white became the district’s colors, how the district was connected to city government, the original location of the Oswego High School after a few relocations and an antique clock, which was gifted by the mayor in the 1870s. Dr. Goewey said the clock has always been hung in the superintendent’s office since that time and is currently hung in his office to this day.
Dr. Goewey and OCSD Executive Director of Business and Finance Nancy Squairs also worked diligently to replicate the Board of Education board to honor both past and current superintendents, BOE members and BOE presidents. The sign is displayed just outside of Dr. Goewey’s office.
“This is just scratching the surface,” he said. “I wish I wrote more down of the stories my dad told me. Every school also has their own stories too.”
Since some community members have heard he has begun to deeply connect with the district’s history, Dr. Goewey said they have been generous in offering some personal OCSD items, several complete with handwritten notes, to add to the district’s collection. If anyone in the community has a piece of OCSD history they would like to share with Dr. Goewey, or donate to the district, he said he would be happy to meet with them. He may be reached at 315-341-2001.
Someday, he said, he would like to delve more into the district’s history and write a book.