200 ESH alumni attend scholarship banquet

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 2, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Ned Everett, Lewis Steverson and Frank Kahan were among about 200 members of the East Suffolk Alumni Association at the Third Annual Honorary Scholarship Banquet and Dance last Saturday.

The purpose was to recognize original charter members, to support the Scholarship Program and to bring Wolverines together with family and friends.

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Ross Boone served as master of ceremonies of the dinner and introduced founders to the audience and presented them with special gifts. He then gave a brief history of how the association was formed.

Various classes of the former high school had been holding class reunions and the class of 1943 had been holding one ever since October 1997. However, the East Suffolk Alumni Association was formed in November 1999.

Founders are Beatrice Willie Reeves, Carey L. Boone, Rose Lee Everett Jenkins, Cleophus S. Norfleet, Sr., the Rev. Dr. Thelma Taylor Norfleet, Amanda Riddick Rogers, Rossie Turner, Marion Bemory Wright, Constance E. Jones, and Carol Bemory Diggs. Other elected officers were Amanda R. Rodgers, Barbara W. Doughty, Susie Bennett, and Carol B. Diggs.

Deceased founders include Lessie Clary Hyman, Virginia M. Boone, and Willie L. Wright.

These faithful members formed with the purpose of encouraging alumni descendants to pursue higher educations and make significant contributions to their communities. They kept in touch with their former homeroom teacher, the late Helen Cross Mitchell, and after some discussion finally decided to offer one or two scholarships to reach this goal. But it did not begin as an alumni association.

In March 1998, a Scholarship Committee was formed and the mechanics for writing the scholarship application were in place. The committee decided that the schholarships should be $500 each.

In January 1999 the first scholarship was introduced in the schools and churches in the Suffolk area. It was known as the &uot;East Suffolk High School Class of 1943 Scholarship.&uot;

The first one was awarded to Lakeland senior Melanie Lakair Craig in June 1999.

Based on suggestions and recommendations the idea of becoming an alumni association was developed. After many phone calls to a few other graduates of the former ESHS along with 15 members of the Class of 1943, a meeting was held at Tabernacle Christian Church on Saturday, Oct. 2, 1999, at which time a discussion was held as to the organization of an alumni association. With a unanimous vote the East Suffolk High School Alumni Association was established.

Present officers are W. Ross Boone, president; Barbara Doughtie, special assistant to president; Dr. Thelma Norfleet, past president; Jasper Mullins, vice president; Priscilla Benn, recording secretary; Gloria Colbert, assistant secretary; Carol B. Diggs, corresponding secretary; Marion Wright, finanical secretary; Pearlie Blanks, treasurer; Beatrice Reeves, business manager; and Dorothy Rawls, parliamentarian.

Ned Everett from Suffolk said that he thought that these reunions were

inspirational every time the classes come together in this way.

&uot;I also think that it is good for the community and city of Suffolk,&uot; he said.

Lewis Steverson lives in Washington, D.C. and said that he has been coming to reunions since they started in 1999.

&uot;I hope that we will continue to prosper in the years to come. The goals that we are working for are wonderful,&uot; he said.

Frank Kahan, also from the D.C. area, said that he made a special trip to attend the Founders Day event.

&uot;We have a wonderful association and we want to continue to work for the history of the school so that its legacy will never die,&uot; he said.