By Tim Gardner
It’s been 50 years since Avery County High School opened. Celebrating such a milestone at any school with old classmates is profound, deeply bonding, almost tribal.
And that certainly was prophetic at the Avery County High School inaugural Reunion last Saturday afternoon, which was held in the school’s gymnasium on High School Road in Newland.
Approximately 50 attended.
The reunion’s chief organizer, Danica Goodman, a graduate of the school’s 2000 class was happy with how the reunion went off. She commented: “There was much excitement and everyone was engrossed in conversation as they shared memories. We had an amazing time and I would like to thank everyone who helped me organize the event, as well as all of those who attended, for making it such a special occasion.”
Goodman also was instrumental in the recent organization of the ACHS Alumni Association, which includes herself as President; Phillip Greene as Vice-President, Linda Benfield as Secretary and a Treasurer To Be Announced.
She encouraged all Avery High graduates and its other patrons to join its alumni association: “One important way that you can help the Avery High Alumni Association grow is to find us on Facebook and become a member. After you have joined, there is an option to invite members and directions vary due to device variation and platform updates. Please add to our group every Facebook friend you have who has ever had any associations at all with ACHS. We are a loving community and we simply love to grow. Thanks to all who help us.”
Goodman added that plans are already underway for a yearly ACHS Reunion to be held.
But as for the first such 50th year bash, a welcome was given by former Avery Journal newspaper publisher Nancy Stroupe Morrison. The invocation was given by Greene, announcer at Newland Radio Station, WECR. A Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Color Guard and Pledge of Allegiance was then followed by the National Anthem sung by Tim Berry.
Tim Berry led the audience with the Avery High Alma Mater, celebrating the Class of 1969. Benfield then spoke about the the efforts and accomplishments of teachers and staff of Avery High’s first 50 years.
Greene also led a class recognition by years, starting with 1969, followed by a candle lighting.
“I believe the reunion went great—especially considering the fact it was the first time for it as put together by the school’s alumni association,” Greene stated. “It has helped build a comradery among the school’s graduates and we felt this was the year to start it, considering it was Avery High’s Golden Anniversary. We look forward to even bigger reunions in the future and appreciate all who have expressed interest in it in any capacity.”
Avery High Principal Phillip Little welcomed attendees to the reunion saying. “Anytime you have so many people show up who care about this community, care about your history and want to come together to do great things for Avery County High School, that’s absolutely awesome.”
Principal Phillip Little then gave those attending updates about the ACHS Education Foundation and the ongoing construction project at the school, which consists of 56,468 square-foot additions and 19,974-square-foot renovations at a cost of approximately $20 million. This new project structure will be built directly in front of the existing school. It will contain new classrooms, science labs, an elevator to address Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, administrative and guidance offices, a new main entrance and other site construction and renovations to unify the campus as a whole.
“The vision we had for this new construction and renovation project is progressing to where it will soon become a reality and will provide our school with much needed and most modern expanded facilities of which the Avery community can take great pride in,” Little said.
If they’re like most people, those attending school reunions will squint at each others’ nametags, shriek with recognitions, hug each other warmly and then talk pretty much nonstop. Countless sentences will start with the words: “Remember when we….?” School graduates will drink, eat, laugh, cry and ask how all those years went by so fast.
And as the saying goes: Inside every older person is a young person wondering what happened? At last,four attributes hopefully all school graduates achieve are: peace, joy, wisdom and contentment. Those who attended the ACHS inaugural Reunion maintained that they have obtained each—largely as a result of their attending the school,
Avery County High graduates: Don’t miss any of your school reunions that can be helped.
Pictures from the reunion: