06/29/10 — Carver Alumni to reunite this week

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Carver Alumni to reunite this week

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on June 29, 2010 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- It has been 40 years since Linda Dove Bizzell and her classmates graduated from Carver High School in Mount Olive, the last group of students to earn their diplomas from the segregation-era school.

And this week, the youngest Carver class will join their fellow Carver Tigers celebrating the 28th annual Carver Alumni Weekend.

"A lot of times I speak of us as being the 'babe graduates,' ours being the last class to graduate. We know we are very blessed," Ms. Bizzell said.

The alumni weekend will give many of the members a chance to see the friends who helped shape the rest of their lives.

"It's rekindling our bond, because many of us, we began first grade and the entire 12 years of school we were classmates. I made mention to some of my classmates how in our earlier years we spent more time with each other than our families. We are family," Ms. Bizzell said.

Activities including a parade, banquet and many other gatherings are planned as part of the celebration.

The alumni weekend is important because it unites the entire school, Carver Alumni Treasurer Bobbie Bennett said.

"It's special because all of our family and friends come home. We all went to Carver School and we all come back home to see each other," she said. "It's just very important to catch up."

About 400-500 people are expected to participate in the events, which kick off with a golf tournament Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Southern Wayne Country Club. A youth night talent show also will be held Thursday and will give away about $8,500 in scholarships to local students. A banquet at 7 p.m. at Mount Olive College will bring together the entire class for an evening of catching up with old friends.

The Class of 1970 will be joined by the Class of 1960, celebrating its 50th reunion, and the Class of 1964, also celebrating a special year. Shirley Bond, a member of the Class of 1960, has been working with fellow alumni Lula Newkirk and Bobbie Bennett to organize the celebration.

Mrs. Bond said she is excited about all of the weekend activities, but especially looks forward to reconnecting with her classmates and even some of the teachers who changed their lives.

"Carver High School didn't just teach us to read and write and to do math. The teachers worked with us on social skills, self esteem. They taught us what they were, they were excellent role models," she said.

The lessons she learned at Carver were things she could not have learned without the support and guidance of the teachers. She credited those teachings with helping her become a successful leader and educator.

"I can speak today because I'm a retired principal with Wayne County Schools, and I couldn't have done this just with my family. They had to reach out and help me to where I am," Mrs. Bond said.

The annual alumni parade, picnic and dance will be held Saturday. The weekend will conclude Sunday with a prayer breakfast at the Carver School cafeteria provided by the A Lot of Direction, Love and Affection cooking school students.

The Carver High School Alumni and Friends Association's mission is to perpetuate the educational focus, traditions, spirit and memory of Carver High School. To achieve that mission, the alumni members seek to establish close fellowship and cooperation among alumni and their family and friends, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the knowledge of the philosophy, programs, and activities of Carver High School and of the accomplishments of its students, faculty, and alumni.