Alumni honor classmate

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 8, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Many children were blessed last Christmas by organizations that cared enough to give their best. One such group was the East Suffolk High Alumni Association, which last month sponsored a Christmas Gala and Tribute at the Holiday Inn. To attend, guests were asked to bring a toy or gift for children along with their $10 admission. Another major reason for the event was to pay tribute to Dr. Thelma Norfleet.

Over 100 toys and gifts were collected, and Ross Boone, president, said he distributed them to various agencies in the area.


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&uot;These organizations support outreach programs in the community and were more familiar with who really needed them. I want to thank all who attended and made the program a success,&uot; Boone said

At the event, Willie Gary served as master of ceremonies and Susie Bennett presented Norfleet with a gift certificate and poinsettia on behalf of the members of the alumni for organizing the association and serving as its first president.

Amanda Rodgers then paid an additional tribute by doing a reading presentation of Norfleet’s contributions.

Norfleet graduated at ESH in the class of 1943; and in the late ’90s, 15 former classmates met to plan a class reunion. That was when Norfleet said she thought more people should be involved in a reunion and came up with the idea to organize an alumni association. So, the ESH Alumni Association was created in 1999. Shortly thereafter, other meetings were held to form a scholarship committee and the ESH Scholarship Committee was organized in 2000.

Norfleet said that she had heard the association wanted to pay tribute to her earlier and felt honored that they wanted to recognize her in this way. She also said she was actually numb with surprise and very appreciative during the tribute.

&uot;I also thought that it was a good thing that the association wanted to do something very special for the underprivileged children in the community,&uot; she said.

Joy Newsome, the ESH $500 scholarship recipient for 2003, was also recognized. She is a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond majoring in theater performance. Newsome graduated from Tallwood High

School in Virginia Beach and is the daughter of Irene and Bill Newsome of Norfolk.

Others on the program were Ross Boone, Mary Wilson Copeland, Madelaine Wilson and Leroy Bennett. The program closed with the ESH school song.

Following the banquet and tribute portion of the program, those in attendance enjoyed dancing to holiday, rock and roll, soul, and line dance music with DJ Benford Hunter serving as DJ.