Lakeland’s class of 1995 holds reunion in orderly fashion

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 29, 2005

Lakeland High School’s

class of 1995 motto: &uot;Keep Hope Alive in ’95&uot; actually sums up the event in regard to working together and getting along together as far as race relations are concerned. The class proved this when they held its 10-year reunion last weekend.

Other alumni members were invited to join them. Gail Hinton-Copeland and I were invited by Sarah P. Knight, Lakeland’s Class of &uot;95 Homecoming Queen.

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Reunion weekend began at 7 p.m. Friday with a meet and greet reserved section at Lakeland’s Homecoming football game against Indian River High School. Immediately following the game the &uot;After Party&uot; celebration for the class and alumni members was held at Holland Community House on Netherland Drive in Holland, with Jeremy Branch serving as DJ for the evening.

When I arrived about 11 p.m. there were many students standing outside and more inside. The first thing that I always do when I go to a place is look for security guards in case someone gets out of hand.

Obtaining the service of a security guard can be very expensive since some places won’t let you rent their establishments without one. I was concerned when I attended the class’s first big event on last Friday night.

I was informed later by Branch that there wasn’t any security, so I stood by the wall to observe the crowd. There was equal participation among both white and black students, and I was surprised to see students mingle and hug after not being together in 10 years.

Copeland began teaching some fancy line dance steps; I joined her and students seemed to forget that we were senior citizens instead of in our 20s.

The party ended at 12:30 a.m. and I didn’t hear any profane language spoken or witness any one not getting along. Everything was carried out in an orderly manner and some students stayed back to help with the cleanup. About 200 people attended this event, which included 75 class members other alumni members and guests.

Other activities held for the reunion were as follows:

A Family & Friends Day on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Whaleyville Community Center on Whaleyville Boulevard-Family and friends of students participated in a face-painting activity and games and students shared and looked at old yearbooks. Refreshments were also served and catered by Nixons Seafood Catering from Edenton, N.C.,

and about 70 students and their guests attended.

Saturday evening at 8 p.m. the class met at Jillians at Norfolk Waterside for dinner, games and fun before taking a boat ride aboard the Sprit of Norfolk. The boat ride with a DJ and refreshments began at 12 midnight and lasted until 2 a.m. Sunday. About 100 classmates and their guests attended.

At 11 a.m. on Sunday the class worshipped at Olive Branch Baptist Church on Airline Boulevard, where classmate and Homecoming King in 1995, the Rev. Ernest Reid, is pastor. A luncheon at the Golden Corral in Chesapeake was held following the morning worship.

Chad Everett traveled the farthest from California.

Four class members are deceased – Herman Boothe Jr., Johnathan Carey, Shanita Golden, and Walter Ricks. These members pictures were displayed throughout all events.

Branch stated that he thought that his class were more closely connected than any other that has graduated from the school. He also said that the entire event was very well conducted in a very orderly manner with full participation from a large percent of the class.

Committee members were Amanda Biittner, Jeremy Branch, Heather Harrell Buchanan, Reginald Darden, Christopher Johnson, Sarah Knight Sherri Pope and Nikisha Porter.

The class plans to hold a 15th reunion in 2010.

I hope that the behavior of these students will keep hope alive, that events that include large gatherings with different races can actually be held without confrontations beyond 2005.

Wall is a former reporter for the Suffolk News-Herald and author of a regular column.