Norwayne alumni have lot of 'fun' coming back
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 4, 2011 1:50 AM
The Norwayne Alumni Parade Class of 1962 makes it way through downtown Fremont. The parade is part of Norwayne Alumni and Friends 38th high school reunion. The reunion is also being celebrated by a gospel fest tonight at 6 p.m.
FREMONT -- Two beloved teachers were chosen as grand marshals for Saturday's 39th annual parade as part of the reunion weekend of Norwayne Alumni and Friends.
Olivia West and Doris Joyner, now retired from the school system, both taught English back in the day when Norwayne served black students in grades 1-12.
The school was built in 1958, and between 1959 and 1970, catered to students who previously attended other segregated schools in the area, including Eureka Elementary, Fremont Friendship School, now Fremont STARS Elementary, and Pikeville Training School.
In 1970, it was converted into a junior high school and in 1990 became Norwayne Middle School.
Ms. West taught at the original school from 1958 until 1967, while Ms. Joyner was there from 1958 until 1969.
"I go back a long way, to Pikeville Training School, and then in 1958 they consolidated," Ms. Joyner said. "I went as a student at Pikeville Training School and then went back and taught there for three years and then moved to Norwayne."
"I was at Friendship Union School in Fremont, from 1954-58," said Ms. West. "I have fond memories of Norwayne and the students there."
So, being called upon by their former students to serve as grand marshal for the parade was especially meaningful for the women.
"It means a lot to me because it was the first time, actually the first time I have ever been in a parade," Ms. West said.
"For me, also. It's a great honor," added Ms. Joyner.
Devone Jones, mayor of Fremont, graduated from the school in 1960 with wife, Geraldine, who, along with the late Ralph Loftin founded the alumni association in 1972.
"We have grown (with members) from every state around," said Lacy Artis, Class of 1954. "People leave and come back for the alumni (event). Plus we give away scholarships every year. We have 19 this year. We actually get close to $10,000 a year."
As Michael Palmer, band director at Charles B. Aycock High School, gave last-minute instructions to the band before the parade kicked off, the Fellowship Riders of Goldsboro lined up on adjacent Dickinson Street to merge with the parade line-up.
Jeremiah Artis, who turns 4 on Monday, drove up in a black Cadillac Escalade, or at least a miniature electric version. He had some help, as his grandfather, Howard Green came alongside and gave the vehicle a little push.
Where'd he learn to drive?
"Papa showed me," Jeremiah said.
His grandmother -- Judy Sherrod Green, Class of 1962, gave the boy the car, Green said.
"I like to go in parades every day," Jeremiah said, moments before the parade began.
"He can't go any further than the trees," his granddad said. "I forgot to put (the car) in the charger."
Albert Artis and wife, Veronica Sutton Artis, both Class of 1966, drove in from Maryland for the event.
"I come every year," he said. "I haven't missed one.
"It's fun coming back to be with school classmates, ones that you haven't seen for a year or three or four or five years because they haven't been."
Artis said he has lived in Hyattsville, Maryland for 45 years and looks forward to returning home each year to see family and attend the reunion.
"The highlight is the banquet," he said. "All of it is great but it's the banquet."
The weekend's events included an alumni social Friday, a homecoming banquet and dance on Saturday, a worship service today at 11 at Norwayne Alumni Community Center and a gospel music program this evening at 6 p.m. at St. James Disciplines Church of Christ at 514 Memorial Church Road.