HAMLET — Alumni of Capital Highway and Monroe Avenue high schools celebrated their 50th anniversaries last weekend — technically, 50 years plus one for the Class of ‘67, as co-organizer Gloris Brown-Butler pointed out.
“Everything you see here is done with a lot of love,” she said. “We’re here to please, and I want to make sure our alumni family feels welcomed.”
And welcomed they felt.
Class of 1956 alum and committee member Carolyn Crosby said she enjoyed visiting reunions to reconnect with old friends and classmates.
“It’s meaningful to be able to see people again,” she said. “It’s wonderful.”
Brown-Butler and her reunion committee planned a weekend activities for members of the graduating classes of 1967 and 1968 — and graduates of other classes.
On Friday, they attended a casual meet-and-greet at the Hamlet Community Center, to which they returned Saturday for a “golden year” banquet. On Sunday, they attended a Veteran Memorial dedication service at Dobbins Heights Community Center. And for Monday, the committee organized a cookout as a way to give back to the Dobbins Heights community.
“When we come together, we don’t forget where we came from,” Brown-Butler said.
2018 is a special year for the reunion committee, because the two classes who joined this year will be the last to celebrate 50 years. In 1968, students in the ninth through 12th grades from Monroe Avenue High School, an all-black school, transferred to Hamlet High School, previously an all-white school. And those in grades seven and eight at Hamlet High moved to Monroe Avenue, making it a junior high school in Hamlet.
After Monroe Avenue went up in 1954, Capital Highway High School was no longer in use and eventually was torn down.
Linda White-Ryland, 1968, and her sister Janet White, 1967, are alumni from the last two graduating classes of Monroe Avenue before the school integrated with Hamlet High.
“I knew it was coming,” White-Ryland said. “The year before, some students went to Hamlet High, but I was able to stay.”
“It means the world (to come together again),” she said. “It’s something we all look forward to — to see kids, their parents, and maybe their grandparents keep it alive … It’s an awesome experience.”
Brown-Butler said the committee would meet again in October to discuss ideas for future celebrations.
“We’ll just continue to celebrate everyone until we can’t celebrate no more,” she said with a laugh. “We’ll think of something.”
Photographs of graduates from Capital Highway and Monroe Avenue high schools decorate poster boards displayed at the cookout.
Chicken Licking BBQ catered Monday’s cookout at the Dobbins Heights Community Center. Attendees enjoyed hot dogs, pulled-pork sandwiches, sides and cold drinks.
Gloris Brown-Butler places a "prom king" sash around James Gould during Monday’s cookout. He was crowned king during the group’s banquet ceremony Saturday.
Reach Jasmine Hager at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]