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Older alumni of Atkins High celebrate history

Older alumni of Atkins High celebrate history
August 09
05:00 2018

Alumni from Atkins High School painted the city maroon and gold last weekend as the Class of 1961 and the Class of 1968 held reunion celebrations.

The Class of 1968 kicked off their 50th anniversary celebration on Friday, Aug. 3, with a “meet and greet” at the Ivy Arms Apartment Clubhouse. The gathering gave classmates an opportunity to catch up with old friends and teachers, and reflect on the good times they had at one of this city’s most historic schools.

The celebration continued on Saturday, Aug. 3, when classmates got together again for a banquet. During the event held at Best Western on University Parkway, the Class of 1968 enjoyed dinner while looking through photo albums, and mingling with classmates. The guest speaker was Joselyn Johnson, a former City Council member and a 1967 graduate of Atkins. Johnson reminded the Class of ’68 of the rich history made in the old brick building on Cameron Avenue and to give back to those in the community.

While enjoying dinner, when asked why “Atkins Pride” is still strong in the community, Thomas Hicks, who serves as president of the Class of 1968’s Reunion Committee, said, “It was basically the Number One black high school going back to the 1930s all the way up to the ’60s.

“There’s a strong affinity to the community and culture with Atkins. We all came together as a school and it’s something that just doesn’t die. Fifty years later, that affinity is still there.”

Harretta Duncan, who is also a member of the Class of 1968 said, “I feel fortunate to even be here because we lost a lot of classmates.”

While the Class of ’68 enjoyed themselves, just a few miles away the Class of 1961 was holding their 75th Birthday Celebration and Reunion at the Embassy Suites. During the “all-white” banquet style event, more than a dozen alumni enjoyed music from a live band.

“This is a celebration,” said Gloria Love-McIver, a member of the Class of 1961. “We are thankful to God that we’re still here. Being here today gives us more pleasure than you can realize and imagine.”

The original Atkins High School, located on Cameron Avenue (now Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy) opened its doors in 1931 for African-American students living in the area. During segregation, Atkins was one of four high schools for African-Americans known today as the “Big 4.” The Atkins name was transferred to a new building on Old Greensboro Road housing Simon G. Atkins Academic & Technology High School in 2006.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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