Upper left: Former Blendon Principals Jim Dalrymple, David Baker, and Sam Dorff pose with current Principal Kendall Harris. Upper right: Retired firefighter and Blendon alum Tom Ullom takes a selfie with the famously never-absent Social Studies teacher Bobb Woodruff. Lower left: Former students from Blendon’s first class in 1969. Lower right: Chloe and Sophia Kennon sell commemorative 50th anniversary T-shirts.
Current and former students, administrators and staff packed Blendon Middle School on Wednesday evening, November 6, in celebration of the building’s 50th anniversary. Old yearbooks, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia was set up on tables in the cafeteria and numerous activities took place throughout the evening for attendees to enjoy. Food trucks were present to provide sustenance, free cookies were handed out, and commemorative T-shirts were sold for $10 each.
A special tribute to teacher/volunteer extraordinaire Bobb Woodruff was set up so people could fill out red, heart-shaped papers saying why they “love Bobb.” Woodruff taught Social Studies at Blendon for 32 years without missing a day before “retiring,” but continued his “never absent” policy by coming in almost every day to volunteer with teachers and students. An envelope on the display said, “Our school has benefitted so much from Mr. Woodruff’s philanthropic efforts that an award bearing his name was created after his retirement to honor students who show the level of dedication to public service that Mr. Woodruff embodies.”
Principal Kendall Harris thanked community members who attended, along with volunteers who organized the memorable event.
Blendon opened its doors in the fall of 1969 as the second junior high school in Westerville (Walnut Springs was first). The mascot was the bobcat and school colors were red and white. The building opened a week late because many portions of the structure were not completed. Dedication and an open house took place on September 28, 1969. Regis Birckbichler was the first principal; Dr. Robert Taylor served as President of the Westerville Board of Education; and Harold C. McDermott was Superintendent of Schools.
Initially, Blendon served grades seven through nine, and enrollment was just over 1,000 students. Within a year, a 1968 bond issue financed construction of an addition of nine rooms to the original structure consisting of 27 rooms. By 1974, the student population topped 1,283 and overcrowding forced the school go on split sessions. In 1975, the ninth grade class was moved to Westerville South High School. From 1976 to 1988, Blendon served mostly seventh and eighth graders, with four classes of sixth grade students from 1978-1980. With the opening of a third middle school in 1989 (Heritage), Blendon became a sixth, seventh and eighth grade building, which remains the same today. The mascot was changed to the bulldog and school colors became blue and gray. Since then, under several leaders, Blendon Middle School has created an award-winning legacy of excellence in education.