There are a lot of stories in the dusty old Great Bend High School yearbooks stacked in the back of Rachel Basden’s classroom, and Basden has heard many of them.
Basden, the current GBHS yearbook and newspaper advisor, has shelves filled with back issues of the Rhorea dating as far back as 80 years, and she is now trying to find homes for these annuals. "I saw all those old yearbooks sitting back there collecting dust and it bothered me."
She thought it would be a good idea to sell the books. This would clear some space, make some money for her journalism department and get the books into the hands of those who want them.
Prices range from $15 to $50, depending on the year, and she has sold 70 books so far. She still has 535, from 1923 through 2010, remaining. The number available per year varies and not every year is represented.
"There are a lot of neat stories," she said of those who have contacted her about purchasing a book. Each phone call or e-mail she gets gives her another glimpse into GBHS history.
There was the story of the woman whose house burned down and wanted a copy to replace the one that was destroyed. There are tales of family members and friends looking for books with pictures of those who have passed away. There are parents wanting books with their children in them.
"It’s been interesting," she said. The best sellers have been those including the Great Bend flood of 1981.
From senior pictures to club activities to sporting events, the books themselves are fascinating, she said. "They are amazing to look at."
She can’t get rid of them all. The department tries to keep an archive of at least on book from each year.
The annuals were stored in a back room attached to her classroom. "I just can’t stand to see things wasted," Basden said.
So far, she has relied on e-mail and word of mouth to advertise the cache. Now, she wants to spread the message to a wider audience.
Anyone interested can contact Basden at GBHS, 620-793-1521, extension 372, or by e-mail at Rachel.Basden@usd428.net.