Last class to graduate Central High School goes on tour of old building

Published on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:47
Written by Lorenzo Burgio


BRISTOL -- The last high school class to graduate from the Memorial Boulevard School building took a tour of the grounds to celebrate the 50th class reunion.

The building on the boulevard, which is on the national register for historic places, was home to Central High School until 1967. That year’s graduating class reminisced earlier this month during a tour of the building that marked 50 years since they were in that building as students.

“A group of us got together and the mayor authorized us to go into the school,” said Tony Virello of Crowley RV who was on the tour. “It certainly felt like déjà vu.”

Virello explained that the group had a tour of the building before it was boarded up roughly 15 years ago.

“The reason we did the first tour is because one of my friends suffers from PTSD from the Vietnam War,” Virello said, adding that his friend was also on this tour. “It brought him back to a time in his life that was the best days.”

Virello added that John Smith of the city’s development authority and former teacher at the school, and Mayor Ken Cockayne attended the tour with the graduating class.

“In reality, the school needs a lot of work. The mayor and John shared the theatre plans with up and it looks fabulous,” he said. “The building needs to be updated but the plans look terrific and they are talking about a magnet school. If it comes to fruition, it makes sense.”

After the last class graduated from Central High School located on the boulevard, the building was then converted into a middle school.

Cockayne explained that the committee which organized the reunion contacted him and he felt it was a “special event” and felt it was important that he “allowed them to going in.”

He noted that felt a special connection because he attended junior high school in that building.

“It was an interesting afternoon listening to former students and talking about former teachers,” Cockayne said. “It was very interesting. Everyone had such positive memories.”

Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at or at 860-973-5088.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Forestville, General News on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:47. Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:50.