Annual Wechsler Day held Saturday

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 11:28 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The annual Wechsler Day was held Saturday at the historic Wechsler School to restore the facility.

Wechsler Day is an event the foundation puts on every year in October. It’s to educate the youth of its rich history.

“The significance is that it was the first brick public school built in the state for black students with public money. The community finally went to the poles and actually voted to build a brick school building for Negros as they were called at the time,” said the president of the Wechsler Foundation Edward Lynch.

It was built in 1894 at 30th Avenue and 14th Street. The building has been rebuilt and remodeled many times since then. Organizers said they are working to restore the building.

“We went out for bids to finish the entire 1951 facility. Pre-covid, we were expecting we would be able to do it for about $800,000, which we had to muster most of that money. We had a bid opening this past Thursday, and we are about $1,000,000 short now in post covid dollars. My belief is that if the Wechsler building is restored - it brings all the property value up in this community. if the property value comes up in this community, it happens all over Meridian,” said Lynch.

2-time super bowl champion and 4-time pro bowler Lawrence Pillers was the special guest at the event.

“This is a historic building to me. I just want to come up and help support this. Hopefully, we can get this school back running to make it good for the youth in this environment so they will know about this education building,” said Pillers.

Wechsler School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and designated a Mississippi Landmark in 1993.

The school was named in honor of Rabbi Judah Wechsler of Congregation Beth Israel, who had led an initiative to get the school funded.

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