A memorable 40th high school reunion
  • Adjusting to a new high school
  • The sounds of high school
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    Juggling Act

    Attending a 40th high school reunion

    I’m going to a 40th high school reunion soon but it won’t be a gathering of Baby Boomers that I joined in the symbolic walk across a stage to get a diploma. Instead, these will be people that I grew up with, who are an important part of my childhood memories.

    It is the reunion of what used to be the “black high school” in the North Carolina city where I grew up. During the years of segregation, it was a pivotal part of the black community and remains so today.

    I graduated from a predominantly “white high school,” choosing to ride a city bus across town when school officials took their first steps to implement the Brown v Brown desegregation case. It was the late 1960s, nearly a decade after the United States Supreme Court decision, and the school system offered what was then called “Freedom of Choice.” It was a baby step toward equality in the schools; students could pick any school in the city but they had to make their own arrangements to get there. So integration began slowly, which was what the policymakers obviously preferred.

    At the time, I was dreaming of going to college and thought the resources available at the “white high school” I attended might help me reach that goal. The black students and white students had to learn how to be comfortable with each other, but I had an interesting high school experience. While I was involved in school activities and clubs, most of my relationships didn’t move outside the school campus unless we were involved in a school-sponsored event.

    By the time I graduated, my neighborhood buddies were finishing too, as the last officially segregated class at the “black high school.” The following year, busing began as a way to integrate all schools in the city.

    Over the years, I’ve stayed in touch with some of my friends from the “black high school.” Some of us went to college together and I’ve run into others at various times over the years.

    I’m looking forward to connecting with friends that I knew in elementary and junior high school, friends that I went to a junior high school dance with when the school principal banned Afros, friends who will always be a part of an extended family that helped shape who I am.

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