Norwayne alumni holding annual reunion this weekend
By Gary Popp
Published in News on September 2, 2011 1:46 PM
FREMONT -- For the 39th year, Norwayne Alumni and Friends is holding its annual parade and reunion in Fremont on Saturday.
The day's festivities will begin with a parade that kicks off at 10 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Ballance Road.
The alumni group organizes the parade to celebrate and recognize those former students and teachers who were part of the segregated school system in northern Wayne County.
The parade will be led by the Charles B. Aycock High School marching band and will include floats from area churches, businesses and organizations.
Two retired teachers of Norwayne School, Doris Joyner and Olivia West, will share the title of grand marshal.
The parade is expected to end around 11 a.m., at which time the public is invited to a hot dog cookout at M.L.K Park.
Norwayne Alumni and Friends is a group of nearly 300 people, primarily made up of students who attended Norwayne School from 1959 to 1970 when the school was a first-through-12th-grade institution designated for black students.
Norwayne School, which was built in 1958, was the primary option for the students who had previously attended other segregated schools in the area, including Eureka Elementary School, Fremont Friendship School, now Fremont STARS, and Pikeville Training School.
In 1970, Norwayne School was converted into a junior high school, and in 1990, it became Norwayne Middle.
Norwayne Alumni and Friends Vice President Nona Fuller is a 1966 graduate of Norwayne School and former president of the organization.
"It is a grand occasion, and we look forward to it each year," Mrs. Fuller said of the reunion weekend. "It is a time to come together and have fun."
Mrs. Fuller said the organization focuses throughout the year on goodwill efforts.
"We want to try to reach out and help people in need, such as people who have a serious illness, lost their home in a fire or helping children," Mrs. Fuller said.
She added that the organization gives scholarships each year to high school seniors and college students across the nation.
The scholarships range from $250 to $1,000 and are awarded to students for study at two- and four-year colleges. The amount of the scholarship varies depending on the relationship the student has with Norwayne Alumni and Friends.
The organization has also recently handed out awards to eighth-graders at Norwayne Middle to recognize the students' commitments to academics, athletics, citizenship and extra effort.
Mrs. Fuller said pride in their school and their history is what drives the organization's membership.
"We still feel very proud of our heritage. It was good for us to be there. We are so proud of Norwayne, and that is why we have this organization," she said. "We owe our laurels to the blue and gold."
The weekend's events will also include an alumni social at Norwayne Alumni Community Center, 106 Branch St., tonight from 7 p.m. to midnight. Snacks and drinks will be offered at 1960s prices.
From 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, a homecoming banquet will be held at Dillard/Goldsboro Alumni Cultural Center at 801 Popular St.
A homecoming dance will follow in the cultural center at 9 p.m.
A worship service will be held at 11 a.m. on Sunday at the Norwayne Alumni Community Center.
At 6 p.m. Sunday a gospel music program will take place at St. James Disciples Church or Christ at 514 Memorial Church Road.