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Quest for the past

St. Croix Central High School is looking to unearth some buried treasure. Over the years, one of the school's prized collections has been pilfered, squandered and lost to the thieving hands of time.

The yearbook collection at SCC is missing several of its volumes, dating back to the 1950s, and school library officials are looking to rebuild its annals.

Library Aid Lori Fedie said that a number of things can happen leading to the archival books' disappearances. People and community groups borrow the books and forget to bring them back, some are swallowed up by the system and some simply "walk off."

Since several of the books vanished from the school's collection, the remaining volumes are now kept locked up in the back room, where staffers locate them and check them out.

"We have a little tighter hold on them now," Fedie said.

Fedie is quick to point out, however, that library officials don't suspect foul play in all cases of the missing archives. They simply want to rebuild the school's anthology.

The quest for retrieving the books was instituted by English teacher Jean Johnson as a way to develop a record of the school's past.

Johnson started to notice holes in the collection in December when she began gathering information for Alumni Night and sought to retrieve the missing books.

"I was going through the yearbook to find things for Alumni Night and I began to notice that several years weren't there," Johnson said.

The yearbooks are used in several capacities including school groups seeking records, staffers locating pictures of retiring colleagues to reincarnate images of past hairstyles and dress choices, and people simply wanting a glimpse into the past of SCC.

Since many of the present older yearbooks were donated by members of the public, Johnson is asking for help from the community in locating the missing volumes.

The school currently is looking for these volumes: 1951, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003.

Johnson is asking the public if they have old yearbooks that are no longer needed, or if someone has multiple copies of a yearbook, to consider donating them to the High School Library.

The school library currently orders several copies of new yearbooks, so the school doesn't have any further troubles with books disappearing.