By Tabitha Barr
Opinion Page Editor
Schools seem to haunt everyone.
It’s the place we dread to go, but have to nonetheless. However, there is one school in particular that seems to be haunted, not just by memories of teetering grades and awkward throwbacks, but by spirits from the other side. Reno Valley Middle School is located on the outskirts of Hutchinson and is a part of the USD 309 Nickerson-South Hutchinson district. There are many stories from teachers and staff that are unexplainable and creep in many ways.
Three ghosts experiences have been told, but the main ghost everyone knows is the former custodian. A source who would like to remain anonymous shares that the middle school use to have a therapy dog named Allie and “she would often stop and stare at “somebody” near the rear tech lab door. Evidently, this is where an old custodian would stand when she would watch the kids.”
This spirit is, according to legend, just a caretaker of the school who looks out for the students and staff. There is said to be only one picture known to exist with the custodian, and no physical evidence could be provided.
Two girls once took a selfie in the seventh grade girls restroom that seemed nice and innocent, but they were not expecting it to have three faces staring back. In the picture, there is a weird face that appears between two girls. That girls’ restroom has many ghostly feelings reported and they continue to pour in.
Around 10 years ago, Reno Valley even had a man come in and see if he could connect or see any paranormal activity.
To one person’s account, they “were in the office. (The guy) asked (them) to come towards the counselor office. As (they) started down the hall, the temperature dropped and the hair on (their) neck stood up. The guy said that the spirit was on (them).”
So according to a paranormal psychic, the middle school definitely has some ghostly figures among the halls.
The second ghost only a has a couple of witnesses but their stories commonly send shivers down listeners back. This one is of a little girl who yells and calls out for her mommy.
According to Trissa McCabe, an eighth-grade math teacher, “It was a Sunday afternoon and as I worked in my classroom, I heard a little girl yelling. I thought it was another teacher’s daughter. As I waited for them to pop into my room, they never did. So I went to look out the window expecting to see (a) vehicle but the parking lot was empty.” Another teacher said that they heard “Mommy?” when walking down by the gym doors. No one knows who the kid could be or who he is searching for.
The final ghost is said to be the late Steve Lehmann, who was the activities director. He passed away in 2013 but a year after he passed, most of the keys to the cabinets in the Panther Den disappeared. This was Lehmann’s main area of the school and he was always there with students. The keys were “later discovered in a cabinet the staff had been in several times, sitting in plain sight.”
To the staff, it seemed to be too coincidental and they all believed it was Lehmann showing that he was still apart of the school.
Reno Valley Middle School has many paranormal experiences that have been shared throughout the years. Ghosts are a part of the unknown, and, apparently, this middle school is a common ground for both the living and the departed