Fifteen years of soaring high

Alumni reflect on GlenOak’s fifteen year anniversary


Photo Courtesy of Plain Local Schools

The Current GlenOak High School Facility

For younger folk out there, 1801 Schneider St, NE, the current locale of GlenOak High School, is intrinsically tied to not only the children of Plain Local’s academic career, but also, their life. It is where a Plain Local student’s primary education culminates, and the jumping-off point for the rest of their lives.

For generations, the customs of GlenOak are all students have known. However this has not always been the case. In fact, GlenOak is having its 15 year anniversary this year.

That said, in the year of 2021, the inaugural class of the then new building is now all grown up. 15 years later, these former students reflect back on the school to paint a picture of what this now storied building was like at its inception.

“So when the building first opened, a lot of people compared it to a hospital building, there wasn’t anything on the walls, there wasn’t allowed to be anything on the walls,” lawyer and graduate of the Class of 2007 Dan Eisenbrei said. “It was kind of weird, you think of a high school and you got your school colors on the walls and everything’s decorated and you got pictures and different student organizations, but when the high school first opened, there was nothing on the walls.”

“So when the building first opened, a lot of people compared it to a hospital building, there wasn’t anything on the walls, there wasn’t allowed to be anything on the walls.”

This past August, the current GlenOak complex will turn 15 years old after opening in 2006. The school formerly known as GlenOak, is what today’s age group knows as Glenwood. The transition was made to a larger venue in order to facilitate an open community style of education and culture.

“When they opened the building, there was an intention for an open community kind of look,” sports-medicine teacher and graduate of the Class of 2007 Alex Shaheen said. “We had, commons areas all over the place, there were open computer labs that were available.”

The empty halls along with the gargantuan size difference was a major adjustment for the transitioning students to make, initially causing much distaste towards the new building.

“It was so spread out, there were sometimes that I would go without ever seeing my friends,” Eisenbrei said. “It didn’t have a high school feel to it, whereas the 44th street building was a very quintessential high school, I mean it was the type of high school that I feel like you see in movies and TV shows about high schools.”

While the expansion of the location did cause a schism between the student body, it also allowed for the school to gain many faculties that students today take for granted. Namely, the school’s athletic facilities.

“I loved the training room,” student body president of 2007, Sean 

Kelley said. “I wasn’t a big weight room guy because I was a Cross Country runner, but the training room, we had all our classes in there, and it was just like stuff you would see at Mount Union, it was craziness to what we had before, so that was really impressive.”

Not only did the athletic facilities see a major improvement, but the performing arts faculties saw a massive improvement as well. In fact, the Abbey Foltz stage, an integral part of the life of any performing arts student, was seen as a big step forward in GlenOak’s performing arts program.

“Before that, we would do our shows at, I think it was First Christian Church, we would do a lot of our concerts there, but when the new high school came, we had this awesome theater, you know, with the balcony and the whole deal,” Eisenbrei said. “That was another thing that stood out to me as being really cool.”

Just as the coming of the new building brought on a lot of evolutions for the students of the Class of 2007, the school has continued to evolve, catering to the ever expanding needs of the students.

“You just see a lot of uses change based on what was practical and what wasn’t,” Shaheen said. “You know, I was only there one year, but I could tell some things changed for the better because they weren’t practical for a high school.”

The campus has also expanded in order to transcend the boundaries of simply being a school, to become more of a community resource.

“One of the things that they tried to sell to the taxpayers was ‘this is going to be a community campus,’” Shaheen said. “With the library, you have the Adolescent Behavioral Health, you have the Koufos Courts, you have the walking trails, so it’s definitely something that benefits the whole community, whether you have a student in Plain Local or not.”

Over the past decade and a half, 1801 Schneider St has experienced many improvements as well as endured loss and setbacks, yet also triumphs and gains. Regardless of the situation, GlenOak has molded generations of students into successful members of society, and has created many fond memories that will last through the years.