JFK Class of 74 Reunion Was a Success In Spite of Charley

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The John F. Kennedy Class of 1974 celebrated its 30th Class Reunion last weekend, Aug 13-15. The theme for the event was titled, &uot;Passing the Torch… Lighting the Way.&uot; Their class motto in 1974 was, &uot;We desire, We Aim, We Conquer.&uot;

The class did all three on last weekend.

According to Minister Sylvia Bond, spokesman for the class and a member of the committee, 45 members attended and only three members who made reservations did not make it.


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&uot;I can safely say that all of our events went off extremely well and were very well attended in spite of the bad weather that we experienced for the duration of the reunion,&uot; she said.

The schedule was as follows:

At 6 p.m.-until, Friday, a &uot;Get Reacquainted Period&uot; was held at the East Suffolk Complex on Sixth Street.

From 6-10:30 p.m., Saturday, a banquet was held at the Renaissance Hotel at 425 Water St. in Portsmouth.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, the class attended a worship service at Metropolitan Baptist Church and immediately following the service, members of the class traveled to Chesapeake to the home of Crystal Johnson for a picnic.

About 35 students registered for events on Friday night at the East Suffolk Complex and attended the &uot;Get Reacquainted&uot; program that featured Spencer Mayfield as the keynote speaker. The title of his speech was, &uot;Remembering the Past in Preparing for the Future.&uot; Spencer was a technology instructor and basketball coach at the school during the 1974 period. In his presentation he spoke about his career and events at the school.

One of his important events happened in 1974 when in a first-time victory as coach, Mayfield led JFK to their first State Basketball Championship that took place in Charlottesville, Va.

Mayfield graduated from Booker T. Washington High School, but spoke of his dedication to the team by making the following statement: &uot;No one knew what I went through as a BTW Bear coaching a Wolverine team,&uot; said Mayfield. &uot;I knew that I had to face these students every day so I also considered myself also a Wolverine which was my choice because I was not going to let my team down. My determination was to take care of my kids first.&uot;

Others on the program were Vivian Artis Williams, Minister Sylvia Bond, Carolyn Sessoms, the Rev. Michael Smith, Ronald Hart, former biology instructor and Lavone Moore Sessoms, chairman of the celebration committee. Marvin Goodman was guest soloist. The program was followed by a dinner, games, entertainment and fellowship.

At the Renaissance Hotel on Saturday, Mrs. Sarah Sugars, a former teacher who taught the class government in its senior year at JFK, was the guest speaker at the banquet. She encouraged the students to continue mentoring youth, and to generate scholarships to allow students to make better contributions to the community, or find some activity that will help improve their quality of life. Her speech corresponded with the theme of the reunion, &uot;Passing the Torch… Lighting the Way.&uot;

A candlelight service was also held in memory of deceased classmates. On a brighter note, cheerleaders from school days did a famous cheer used at basketball and football games without instituting the flips that went along with the cheer. Cheerleaders were Vivian Artis Williams, Belinda Bonds Evans, Carolyn Gray and Estelle Willie Goodman.

Others on the program were Curtis Washington and Candy Brooks, toast master and toast mistress; the Rev. Anthony Copeland, Beanie Johnson, Estelle Willie Goodman, Brenda Roberts, Carolyn Sessoms, Linda Boone Skeeter, Gregory Francis, Alexander Holland, Larry Goodman, Belinda Bond Evans and Diane Darden.

At Metropolitan Church on Sunday morning, the class listened to their classmate the Rev. Alexander Holland, delivering the sermon of the day. After the service, they proceeded to the home of Crystal Johnson where the men of the class cooked under a gigantic tent and class members joined in the feast indoors. During the meal, they enjoyed music, played games, watched movies, and shared pictures.

Randy Barnes from California traveled the farthest. Belinda Bond Evans and Casey Evans were classmates who were married the longest. Kenny Armstrong had the most children. Sylvia Bond has taught school the longest with 26 years-both the Suffolk and Northampton County school systems.

Lavone Sessoms and Diane Darden coordinated activities for the weekend.

In the past the class has held its 10th, 20th and its 25th


Curtis Washington from Louisville, Ky., said that he kept his eye on the news and after seeing the article in the paper about the storm, he decided to come anyway hoping for the best.

Bond said that most members said that that they didn’t have any fear or hesitation about attending because they didn’t want to miss seeing friends. One member said he knew that God was the captain of his ship.

I can imagine that they were grateful that they didn’t have to use that ship to sail to each activity.

The JFK Class of 1974 practiced their class motto with this reunion. Their desire was to go on with the reunion, to aim toward carrying out activities of each event, and to conquer the bad weather in order to make this 30th reunion a successful one. They overcame all weather conditions of Charley last weekend to do just that. Sorry Charley.