The new History Center at Bulkeley High School contains many trophies of sports victories won over the past 87 years. Like those sports victories, the creation of the History Center was the result of teamwork, a tale of one person after another picking up the ball and advancing it down the field.
The goal was reached on Friday, September 27, when the History Center was officially opened to Bulkeley High School students, alumni and the public.
Maria Mascaro, who graduated from the school and worked there for many years as a teacher and now serves as a volunteer, said the idea first came up during the renovation of M.D. Fox School, which was the original Bulkeley High School.
“Mrs. Greene (Bulkeley Principal) and several Bulkeley High School graduates who worked at the school started talking about the idea...We had an initial meeting with the Alumni Association, that’s when the process really started. But when we saw how much money it was going to cost to create the kind of center we wanted, it seemed like it would take ten years before we could actually open something,” said Macaro.
Enter Lou Frasca, a 1988 graduate of Bulkeley who began working at the school a few years ago as Dean of Students. “He really got the ball rolling,” said Mascara.
Frasca directed a letter writing campaign to Bulkeley alumni, former teachers and others connected with the school. He said an article about the proposed History Center in the Hartford Courant sparked a lot of interest and also several donations.
But Frasca and Mascaro both said the turning point came with a very substantial donation from Peter Frasca, who graduated from Bulkeley in 1963. After that, they said, the History Center became less of a distant dream and more of a reality.
As the word spread, more and more donations came in. One day two members from the class of 1946 came into the school and said that the class had decided to donate its entire bank account – over $1,800 – to the project.
The History Center opened just a few weeks after renovations were completed on the old Bulkeley High School.
One of its star attractions is a display of the contents of a time capsule that was built into the old school in 1924 and recovered during the renovation process.
There is also a computer display screen that allows visitors to look through Bulkeley High School yearbooks over the years.
The materials came from many sources, Frasca said. “We got a lot of stuff from our physical education department,” he said, “and a lot of former teachers and alumni mailed stuff in.” The history center contains a wealth of memorabilia, from campaign posters for class elections to games balls and trophies.
Frasca said one of his favorite items is a typed letter to the widow of Morgan Bulkeley, the school’s namesake, inviting her to the school’s dedication ceremony in June, 1927.
Mascaro said she and others hope to improve the History Center and make it a place where meetings and reunions can be held. Donations are still needed and can be sent to the Bulkeley High School Historical Association, c/o Lou Frasca, 300 Wethersfield Avenue, Hartford, CT?06114.