RBC residents find diploma after storm

A photo of the diploma the Pattersons found.A photo of the diploma the Pattersons found.

By Donna Thornton/News Editor

When a major windstorm blew through Etowah and surrounding counties several weeks ago, it left tree debris that many municipalities and individuals are working still to clear away.

But it left more than downed limbs at Donna Patterson’s home in Rainbow City. While she was cleaning up some of the debris behind her house, Patterson said she found a large document blown up against the back of her house.

She carefully peeled it away and found what appears to be a high school diploma from Youngstown Public Schools High School Department. It marks the graduation of James Wilfred Lowry “on this twenty-eighth day of January in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred Twenty Seven.”

The diploma is a bit larger than 19×14 inches, far larger than the diplomas awarded in recent decades – an impressive document and keepsake.

“I know if it were mine I’d want to get it back,” Patterson said.

Patterson said she hopes getting the word out will allow someone to reclaim the diploma. If James Wilfred Lowry graduated 86 years ago, it’s not likely that he’s still living, but the diploma might have been in the possession of a family member.

There was a South High in Youngstown, Ohio, which closed several years ago because of declining enrollment. A spokesperson for the Youngstown City School System said she believed South High opened prior to 1927, making it the likely origin of the diploma.

To have ended up in a back yard in Rainbow City, the diploma must have migrated south with someone at some point in time, then become displaced by the localized wind storms.

If anyone knows who might have lost the diploma and would like to retrieve it, email dthornton@gadsdenmessenger.com to be put in contact with Patterson and reclaim the lost keepsake.
 

 
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