Monday, July 7, 2008

Reunion 2008 Banquet at Douglass-Slater; "Proud Traditions Forever United"

Somehow, it is fitting that alumni from the former Douglass High School in Bristol, Virginia, and the former Slater High School in Bristol, Tennessee held their 2008 reunions together.

When the two African-American schools were operating, they were only separated by the Virginia-Tennessee state line, but their families are inter-twined both by school spirit and blood relationships. Many of the students had relatives that went to the other school, attended the same churches, and even married into the other school's family.


It was that spirit of togetherness, that filled the banquqet hall at the Holiday Inn in Bristol, Virginia. The hall was packed with alumni and their families for the 2008 Douglass-Slater Reunion. The event was held Saturday evening, July 5, 2008, and by all accounts, everybody had a wonderful time.

"We don't know if this will be one of the last times we'll get together," one alumnus was overheard to mention to another. "But we'll come as long as they'll have 'em."

Mistress of Ceremonies at the banquet was Ms. Olivia Howard, and Mrs. Rose Bunche welcomed the many alumni visitors. Ms. Rita Howard and Mr. John M. Brown recognized the Honor Classes, Mr. Charles Jones paid homage to the teachers at both schools, Scholarship recipients were announced by Mrs. Drucilla Hogans, and Mr. Norman Cook. Ms. Olivia Howard presented the awards that are listed below.

The dance contest that was held at the opening reception back on Friday night was won by Patricia Horton and Daniel McCall, and the card game "Bid Whiz" that was played that night, was won by Kay Wisdom and Charles Simpson. Parade winners were Emma Jean and Yancy Gayles. The bowling competition was close.. in the first category, Daniel McCall came in first, Tony Ross was second, and Ben Long was third (Ben has a Douglass-Kingsport connection: his mother was Faye Long, longtime 6th Grade teacher at Douglass-Kingsport, and his father was Bron Long). Winners in the second category were Penny Walker in first place, Ella Kane in second place, and third place went to Missy Charles.

The Douglass-Slater Golf Tournament was just as exciting. Winners in the 65-and-over competition were Zeke Johnson with a 99, and Don Gayles in second place with a 100 score. In the 58-to-64 competition, George Watkins shot a 114. In the 57-and-under category, Monroe Preston scored an 83, Eddie Jordan had an 84, and Dennis Hill scored a 91.

The banquet capped off a marvelous reunion, after the alumni picnic and Memorial Service at the Steele Creek Park Lodge. Activities just before the Memorial Service included bingo, whist, bridge, pinochile and checkers, and of course, a delicious lunch.

Judging by all the smiles, the 2008 Douglass-Slater Reunion was a rousing success, with hopefully many more to come!

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