ROCKINGHAM — Members of the Rockingham High School Class of 1972 may need a cheat sheet to sing the Alma Mater, but their memories of class shenanigans remain vivid.
About 20 classmates gathered at their old school Saturday to share reminiscences and a new gift to the school — portraits of former principals J.C. Mulkey, John Langley and Linwood Huffman.
The three portraits and plaques listing the principals’ accomplishments now hang alongside that of longtime principal Kate Finley and above a case of football, basketball and other trophies won at Rockingham High, now the site of Rockingham Middle School. The ceremony took place in an auditorium bearing Finley’s name.
“We were not exactly illustrious as seniors,” remembered Jimmy Pippin, a Class of 1972 alum and a teacher at the school when it was Rockingham Junior High.
“(Still), the class did have a legacy (before Saturday), but nobody knew about it,” he said — a sloppily painted “Class of 1972” slathered atop the school’s outdoor student-smoking shelter. Such shelters ceased their original function when smoking was banned wholesale in public places, but the legend remained atop the old shelter, Pippin said: he could see it from his classroom. It might even still be there.
Saturday’s gift was far more formal, of course. And more serious in tone, except for the kissing and hugging of old classmates before and after the formal program.
Rockingham Middle School principal Theresa Gardner welcomed the class, recalling all the old places they probably had hung out in town — the cinema, the skating rink and the Yellow Bird, where one could buy “awesome bell bottoms.”
The 3 O’Clockers, a chorus of middle school girls whose name is an homage to the 1970s’ 8 O’Clockers — chorus members who practiced before school — sang a medley of “Make New Friends, but Keep the Old” and the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” (1970).
Afterward, the 3’s and 8’s posed for pictures together as other members of the Class of ‘72 headed off for a tour of their old stomping grounds, a place Gardner said might “look a bit different” but remained “rich in history.”
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673.